MEXICO CITY, Mexico. – The first pet-friendly hotel facility will open in Cuba at the Villa Tortuga Hotel, in Varadero. This information was confirmed to Travel Trade Caribbean by Diana Beatriz Olivera Rodríguez, trade vice-president of the Gran Caribe Hotel Group.
The news was announced during the 43rd edition of the International Tourism Fair (FITUR 2023, by its Spanish acronym), in Madrid. Cuba’s spokespersons presented the island as the ideal destination for those travelers who wish to travel with their mascots.
As the name implies, pet-friendly refers to welcoming pets. When a facility says it is pet-friendly, it doesn’t just mean that it accepts animals in the hotel, but also that certain benefits are available to the mascots. For example, it is common practice that the hotel invests in supplies and equipment to dispose of animal waste and in water and food bowls. The hotel will provide dog leashes and toys, and a bed for them in the guest rooms.
It’s also expected that these hotel facilities will feature designated areas for pets and personnel dedicated to feeding the animals and play with them. Having a veterinarian on the premises is a valuable plus to have in these facilities.
According to the above-mentioned outlet, Gran Caribe and SEGITTUR España officially signed, during FITUR 2023, an agreement to transform Cayo Largo del Sur into its first Intelligent Tourism Destination in Cuba and the Caribbean. In practice, this means incorporating the technological innovation at this destination, which is located in the Caribbean, 84 miles from Nueva Gerona, the capital city of the Isle of Youth.
Cayo Largo’s territory spans 37.5 km and is 25 km long, almost totally occupied by beaches; it is a luxury destination. In late November last year, Blue Diamond Resorts announced it was remodeling four of its hotels at this tourism pole.
Also, the vice-president and CEO of the Spanish company Meliá, Gabriel Escarrer, stated on the first day of the tourism fair in Cuba that the Meliá Trinidad Península Hotel –in central Cuba- would be the last one that Meliá would open this year, adding that it would “probably be the best hotel offering Premium service in the island.”
The Cuban government’s goal is to welcome 3.5 million international tourists this year. In 2022, Cuba welcomed a mere 1.6 million tourists, a figure way below the projected 2.5 million visitors. Since the start of the pandemic, tourism has plummeted and has yet to recover.
While luxury hotels continue to go up in the island, the housing inventory gets worse every day. Cuba’s towns and cities lose housing and buildings due to lack of maintenance and families who could never afford to stay at these hotels, thus lose their homes.
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