Repairing Tourist Facilities Is Havana’s Top Priority

“We are working to have every tourist facility ready as soon as possible,” claims a government official from the tourism sector.

By Cubaencuentro

The Melia Cohiba Hotel. Foto: techtravel.com

HAVANA TIMES — Hotels in Havana’s coastal areas have suffered “minor damage” after Hurricane Irma swept through, but they will be ready to receive tourists by the end of this week thanks to “quick” repair and cleaning actions, managers from Cuba’s Tourism Ministry (MINTUR) told the Spanish press agency Efe this Wednesday.

Hotels which are set to resume working normally in just a few days include the Arenal and the Jicaboa Memories hotels, located in Havana’s Playas del Este; the Aquarium at Hemingway Bay and the Melia Cohiba and Comodoro hotels, located on Havana’s coast.

After Irma, which hit Havana last Saturday, “restoration work began immediately” at the 18 hotels that had been evacuated, where “damage to glass windows, false ceilings and other things can be fixed quickly” were reported, the MINTUR representative in Havana, Xonia Beltran, said.

Beltran added that some of these Hotels could start working again while repair work is being done which “doesn’t compromise its commercialization.”

“We are working to have all of these facilities ready as soon as possible,” the tourism official insisted in her statement to the state-owned Cuban News Agency, while repeating that “tourism continues in the city”, where several areas continue without water and electricity.

Moreover, she specified that those tourist facilities which the sea surge reached, “will take a little longer to start running again.”

Beltran insisted on the fact that Havana has “the means to orderly take in” visitors, because the “rest of the capital’s hotels are open” noting that they had “ensured tourist safety” during the hurricane.

Hotels such as the emblematic Nacional, located in a crag in front of Havana’s Malecon, and the Habana Libre hotel, which is also close to the coast, but located in a higher area, also served as shelters for the many foreign travelers which the powerful hurricane Irma took by surprise in the middle of their holidays.

Havana’s MINTUR representative reminded us that flights to Havana’s airport resumed on Tuesday and clarified that travel agencies had revised their tourist itineraries leaving this city, in order to make other destinations available to travelers who are still on the island.

Hotel Nacional

Havana has 60 hotels and about 11,000 private homes which rent out rooms.

According to official figures, the arrival of international travelers to Havana, Cuba’s main point of entry, had grown 23% by late August when compared to 2016.

Up until last July, more than 1.6 million foreign visitors had arrived in the Cuban capital, approximately 435,000 more than in the previous year.

Tourism is one of the driving forces behind Cuba’s depressed economy and in 2016 the Caribbean island received a record of 4.5 million foreign tourists, which it wants to increase to 4.7 this year.

Powerful Hurricane Irma left 10 people dead in Cuba and has caused great damage to homes and hotel infrastructure in Cayo de Santamaria, Cayo de Guillermo and Cayo Coco, to the north of inland provinces Villa Clara and Ciego de Avila, where the Category 5 hurricane hit last Friday.

Over 5000 tourists who were on their summer holidays in the northern cays – which belong to the Jardines del Rey archipelago – were evacuated west to the Varadero resort, about 140 km away from Havana, which was also affected, but to a lesser degree.

In spite of the destruction, President Raul Castro has said in a message to the Cuban people that damaged tourist facilities will be recovered “before the peak tourist season begins” in November.



14 thoughts on “Repairing Tourist Facilities Is Havana’s Top Priority

  • ….”damaged tourist facilities will be recovered “before the peak tourist season begins” in November.” Sounds like the hyperbole preceding the Ten Million Ton Harvest.

    Reply
    • Some of them weren’t damaged that badly. If they can build a full resort complex from the ground up in less than a year (I’ve seen it), surely they can repair the stand alone hotels that are still mostly intact in a few months.

      It’s some of the resorts in the Jardines Del Rey that may not open again this winter (if ever). Some of the ones on Cayo Coco, for instance, are pretty much destroyed.

      Reply
      • I have no doubt that Cuban ingenuity could build or rebuild one hotel in record time. But given the enormity of the destruction, I have serious doubts the Castros have the resources and the management skills pull this off. Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba are still suffering from the devastation left from the hurricane of two years ago.

        Reply
        • Sure they can they have strong allies which are Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, Brasil, China, and others. even though Cuba had no longer American equipment, is mostly Soviet, Russian, Chinese, building equipment most housing and prefabricated buildings are Soviet built, and the most cars there are Soviet, Ladas, VOLGA, MOSCOVISH, in the millions, but the U.S. only takes pictures of the less then two hundred old U.S. cars there. Cuba is only breeding international Spies, here in the U.S. and in Venezuela around the Columbian border. That’s all Cuba is Soviet Cubans, Soviet Cuban Cars, and breeding Spies…

          Reply
          • Cuba does not possess 1 million cars Ruben, so you are rather optimistic in writing of “millions”. If you visited Cuba and travelled around in one of the Chinese Geely cars so beloved by the regime because they acquire them on credit, you would note that there are a lot more than 200 old US cars. Try travelling from one end of Cuba to the other and you will be able to verify what i have written.
            There are many new houses constructed in Cuba for employees of MININT, the employees of which ensure that the population toe the communist line. The population at large has to fend for itself.

  • I appreciate that Tourism to the Island id economically very important to the economy of the island and it’s people, however where do the Cuban people come in the pecking order? Without the continued co-operation of the Cuban people you Mr Castro will not continue to have a tourist industry for very much longer! Put your Cuban people first just for once please!

    Reply
  • I have not seen anywhere the government has stated that repair of tourist facilities was their “top” priority, as the headline reads. Is that the author attempting to infer, without substantiation, that the Cuban government holds tourist facilities as a higher priority than their population’s welfare? That is shameful and, I believe, inaccurate. It is true the govt holds repair of the tourist infrastructure important as it does feed their social welfare. But don’t infer lies, taking advantage of a tragedy to spread disinformation. Give us real news, not “fake news,” please.

    Reply
    • Oh Ryan how evident it is that you do not begin to comprehend the priorities, methods and beliefs of the Castro regime. The government of Cuba does not place the welfare of the population of Cuba as a priority. The priority will be given to repairing the GAESA owned hotels operated by foreign companies. Key roads will be another priority, but the homes of the people will be of secondary importance. No need to argue, just watch!

      Reply
      • You may be correct; you may be wrong. Regardless, the headline is a fabrication intended to express an unfounded inference. Nowhere did I see the tourist facilities restoration stated to be “top” priority; the headline is propaganda. State only facts or credibility of the entire article is called into question. How much else of the article is fabricated?

        Reply
        • For Christ sakes a country can have more than one top priority at the same time.

          Reply
    • Ryan you’re an idiot…throwing out the “fake news” term proves it.
      Raul stated on Sunday exactly what you are asking about the tourist facilities being top priority….. do your research …The question I have for you is are you wanting to have a good time for yourself or do you care about the suffering the Cuban people are going through right now.???

      Reply
  • Are all beaches in Varadero open and in good shape. Booked for Sept 23. At barchelo arenas blancas.

    Reply
  • Hi can anyone give an updat on the iberostar parque central in Havana. We are due to stay there from Thursday 21 September and are not sure of the conditions in the area. Thanks

    Reply
    • PC is just fine. Will be there Saturday.

      Reply

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