MIAMI, United States. – Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR) authorities feel that the recent explosion at the Saratoga Hotel will not affect the country as a tourist destination, according to statements made by MINTUR and Gaviota S.A. officials during a press conference this Tuesday.
“We are convinced that Cuba’s image will continue to be that of a peaceful, tranquil, safe and caring destination” stated Carmen Casals, a Ministry of Tourism spokeswoman.
In addition, she stated that all messages of condolence and solidarity received following the explosion at the Saratoga from tour operators, airlines, tourism ministers, travel agencies and tourists, were “a vote of confidence toward Cuba as a tourism destination.”
The official also specified that all tourism facilities in the island “are continuing to serve domestic and international tourists on vacation at the present time” in Cuba, “with the tranquility and safety” that are “characteristic” of the tourism sector in the nation.
When asked about the state and the future of the Saratoga Hotel, the Gaviota S.A. delegate for Cuba’s western region, Roberto Enrique Calzadilla, stated that all efforts were concentrating on rescuing the three hotel workers who are still missing.
“When that effort comes to an end –and we think we are close, considering all we have been doing under very complex circumstances- then we will convene a multidisciplinary team –already conceptualized- that will go deep into the building’s present condition, and be able to formulate going forward and jointly with the competent departments, the decision that is necessary,” he said.
Up until 3:00 pm this Tuesday, the death toll had risen to 42 people, and 96 were wounded as a result of the explosion at the Saratoga Hotel, which took place last Friday around 11:00 am.
While 23 of the building workers on duty are dead (of the 51 that were at the site) another three workers who were also present at the time of the explosion remain missing.
The Saratoga explosion occurred the day after the closing of the International Tourism Fair FITCuba 2022, which was attended by representatives from 54 countries.
Shortly after the explosion, the Cuban government stated that the explosion was an accident caused by a gas leak.
The Saratoga, built in 1880, had operated as a hotel since 1911, Its most recent restoration took place in 2005, when the building was restored completely to then reopen as a 5-star category hotel.
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