Cuba looking to increase the number of Russian tourists

Cuba is exploring ways to significantly increase the number of visitors from Russia by encouraging corporate entities and people living in a greater number of Russian republics to consider vacationing on the island.

As a part of the country’s promotional efforts in Russia, in 2019 Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism is intending to encourage tour operators based beyond Moscow to develop their own programmes. It also intends to promote corporate incentive travel to Cuba among Russian enterprises.

Cuban officials in Moscow were recently quoted in Cuba’s state media as saying that they want to build on their positive experience with Rosneft which plans to send at least seven groups of more than 300 people to Cuba this year on charter flights. They noted that in the regions of Irkutsk and Chubasia, in which many large natural resource companies are located, there is a possibility of working directly with relevant companies to bring similar corporate groups to Cuba on programmes organised through Havanatur.

Previous media reports have said that Rosneft budgets millions of roubles each year to send thousands of employees on fully paid for vacations. When employees were sent to Cuba, the energy giant offered them vouchers to cover airfare, hotel accommodation, meals, transfers, spas and excursions.

Other reports indicate that Moscow-based Anex Tour, one of Russia’s leading tour operators, is now flying planes with greater capacity to Cuba and is intending to increase its airlift in the 2019/20 winter season by adding another 600 seats per week. They also noted that in addition to Pegas Touristik and Anex Tour, a so far unnamed Russian tour company, intends to introduce a new Cuban programme for the next high season.

Cuban officials say that they are also considering several Russian investment proposals for the tourism sector for hotels and other tourism facilities. They also said that Cuba is exploring the possibility of developing training programmes involving Russian tourism schools, Russian language training, and will participate in major Russian tourism fairs.

In 2018, Cuba received 137,000 Russian visitors, a 30% growth over 2017 and in January 2019 reportedly experienced 10% growth over the same month in 2018.

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