Better local planning required in sensitive tourism locations

Cuba’s Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero, has said that Cuba needs to end the construction of ‘anachronistic’ buildings in areas of environmental and visitor importance.

Speaking in Varadero during a visit to review progress on a Council of Ministers development plan approved in 2019, he urged the local and the provincial authorities in Matanzas to do more to implement it, address ‘urban irregularities’, and more effectively control planning.

Marrero, a former tourism minister, called for the unblocking of bureaucracy to speed up planning and to bring an end to processes that were seeing ‘the accumulation of major problems’. Calling for better managed work schedules and the establishment of specific deadlines, he stressed the need to progressively eliminate constructions that violate urban and environmental regulations.

In his remarks, Marrero noted the importance of removing illegally permitted properties in Caletón, a southern coastal area in the ecologically sensitive Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata, which he described as one of the largest and best-preserved wetlands in the Caribbean.

A report presented by Mario Sabines, the Governor of Matanzas, made clear, he said, the need to respond with urgency as some structures erected on natural beach dunes were causing ‘erosion and the retreat of the coast’.

Marrero also stressed the need to use the absence of visitors to accelerate the maintenance of hotels, beautify public gardens and improve beach areas. “We can raise quality standards in the certainty that, sooner rather than later, tourism will return to normal levels and will appreciate a renovated Varadero” Marrero reportedly said.

Speaking in the context of Cuba’s International Tourism fair, FITCuba 2021 which will take place on 3-8 May in Varadero, and tourism’s return post pandemic, Marrero said that every public space on the peninsula must in future be related to tourism and involve the renewal of Varadero’s image, while protecting the beach and improving the quality of service.

Marrero also spoke about the need to diversify the Province’s tourism product and called for ‘original ideas’, ‘creativity’, and ‘newer forms of Varadero’ to increase the province’s visitor offering.

The Caribbean Council is able to provide further detail about all of the stories in Cuba Briefing. If you would like a more detailed insight into any of the content of today’s issue, please get in touch.