New legislation supports spiralling Cuban tourism and focuses on offer diversification. As part of this, tourism authorities hope to have 29 golf courses throughout the country within 15 years.
Indeed, new legislation confirms such strategies and allows further expansion of the industry, while the Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR) is diversifying, with specialized proposals, such as golf.
Among such developments is the government announcement through its Official Gazette of the extension from 50 to 99 years of foreign investors’ rights to use state lands for tourism activities.
The business and development director of Palmares, Sandino Fernández, pointed out to Cubaplus that the country currently has two golf courses: the Varadero Golf Club, at there sort with the same name, and Capdevila in the capital.
He explained that the former is the most important, with 18 holes and 69 hectares in excellent conditions, both the surrounding landscape and the tourist infrastructure in general, located among the most attractive of the Caribbean.
At present he clarified, tourists come to Cuba for many reasons, such as sun and beach trips, nature and culture, and take advantage of their stay to play some golf, but lack enough alternatives for this sport.
In search of golfing paradise
Those who organize golfing trips seek a country with a circuit of at least three courses of international standard and approximately 80 hectares.
Hence the interest of the authorities for a medium-term plan to providet he island with 29 fields distributed throughout the country, chiefly in Havana, the northern coast ofcentral Ciego de Avila Province, eastern Holguín and south-central Cienfuegos and Trinidad.
A specific example of promotion of this practice was this year’s Second Montecristo Golf Cup in the Varadero resort, with the competition linked to the world-acclaimed premium cigar brand, and 74 competitors from seven nations: Japan, Canada, Spain, France, Belgium, Britain and Cuba.
A novelty was the demonstration by Spanish golfer Alvaro Quiros García (January 21, 1983), who is considered a promise in the sport since he became professional in 2004.
Quirós was Biarritz Cup Champion in 2004, won the Sevilla Open in 2006, the Morson International Pro-Am Challenge in 2006, the Alfred Dunhill Championship 2007, and the Master of Portugal 2008.
Prominent Mexican athlete Ana Gabriela Guevara, prompted by her training by Cuban coaches, now promotes golf tourism in this country.
With such motivation, under the sponsorship of MINTUR, Mexican TipsTravel and Volar, and the Spanish hotel chain Sol Melia, the Varadero Golf Club, 140 kilometres east of Havana, will hold the first Ana Gabriela Guevara Cup from October 13 to 17 this year.
Ana Gabriela Guevara Espinoza (Nogales, Sonora, March 4, 1977) is a gifted athlete of extraordinary ability, winning the unsurpassed world record for the 300-metre dash in 35.30 seconds on May 3, 2003. She retired in 2008.
At a press conference at the resort’s Xanadu mansion, Ana Gabriela Guevara explained that the objective is to organize a tournament with more than 125 people and thus enhance Cuba as a golfing destination.
The Varadero resort is the main sun and beach center in Cuba, visited by more than two million foreign visitors each year for the past four consecutive years.