Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero said at the opening ceremony in Havana, the capital city, that the Cuban government will continue to support tourism development, although the U.S. embargo on the island adversely affects the local tourism industry.
"We have the challenge to make Cuba into a more competitive tourist destination. Aside from sun and beach tourism, we are urged to promote cultural and heritage tourism as well as historical, health and nature tourism," Marrero said.
Another attendee, Tourism Minister Juan Carlos Garcia, said that Cuba aims to develop its local tourism industry in keeping with environmental sustainability principles. The event features seminars, talks, and guided tours across tourist destinations from the provinces of Havana, Matanzas, Artemisa, Mayabeque and Pinar del Rio, and Isle of Youth municipality.
The US blockade against Cuba is a 'crime against humanity', says Bolivia's President Luis Arce at the UN General Assembly. pic.twitter.com/YnrT7TSWS4
Running through Saturday, the event gathers tour operators, travel agents, experts and business people from 19 countries. The event comes ahead of peak tourist season in the Caribbean nation, which runs from mid-November to April.
Some 689,000 international tourists arrived in Cuba during the first half of the year. In 2021, Cuba welcomed just 390,000 international visitors, far below the more than four million annual visitors the island received before the pandemic, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
The Cuban government has projected economic growth of 4 percent for 2022, forecasting that 2.5 million foreigners will travel to Cuba this year.