Havanatur in MegaFam 2023 from Guardalavaca, Holguín

By: Daily Pérez Guillén.

This September 27, International Tourism Day, will be special for Havanatur. Representatives of travel agencies from 20 countries are in Guardalavaca, Holguín, to participate in the MegaFam 2023 that the International Group of Tour Operators and Travel Agencies is organizing for its 45th anniversary with the aim of promoting circuit tourism in Cuba’s eastern region.

Yoelkis Salazar Rivery, CEO of Havanatur S.A., highlighted in a press conference that all forms of tourism converge towards the east of the archipelago, “a strength for the development of circuits, Cuba’s star product, which differentiates it from the rest of the Caribbean countries in the midst of such aggressive competition after the pandemic.”

Around four hundred travel agents around the world reached Guardalavaca to join the MegaFam 2023, a figure that exceeded the expectations of its organizers. “The greatest impact of MegaFam is that travel agents are getting to know Cuba’s eastern region,” he said, “we not only think of the next high season, but also in 2024, that those who come today are thinking about next year.”

In 2009 Havanatur had launched this region of the country as a circuit, but now there is a renewed hotel plant with international standards and strategic air connections from Holguín and Santiago de Cuba coming from Europe and Central America. The Caribbean also promotes the development of multi-destination and for this the geographical, historical-patrimonial and cultural charms of the eastern region are an attraction.

The Havanatur communication group launched at the International Tourism Fair last May the slogan “Dare to live it. Cuba awaits you.” In relation to that initiative, Salazar Rivery argued: “The market towards Cuba is changing and we as tour operators must change our strategy. We have designed a new, solid campaign, which has brought very good results. It is the first time we do it as a group with all the agencies we have in the world. It has even been used by agents who do not work with Havanatur but take the opportunity to send tourism to Cuba.”

The largest Cuban Tour Operator and Travel Agency seeks to recover the participation quotas at the group level regarding the arrival of visitors to the destination that represented more than 20 percent of the total number of tourists who arrived on the island before the pandemic. “We are betting on emerging markets like China ― a market that we have been studying and where we lack communication ― but we hope to reach record figures in 2024.” This segment also includes Türkiye, United Arab Emirates and India.

To meet that goal, online sales are very important, a challenge for Havanatur and the Cuban tourism sector in general. The tour operator group has its own platform, today under development, but essential for insertion in emerging markets. “We work to sell in 2023 in real time and we are connected with five hotel chains.”

In relation to air connections, the executive said that Havanatur is analyzing intentions with other new connections depending on how the peak season evolves.

The results and stories of MegaFam 2023 will be shared on December 19, when “the Cuba specialist,” celebrates its 45th anniversary.