Cuba's Islazul hotel chain that began in 1994 as a budget, extra-hotel network company, had a 12.3% growth last year (2009) and now dedicates itself to lodging and circuit modalities. Islazul's commercial director Milagros Cañizo told Cubaplus that in 2006 the chain began devoting most of its efforts toward hotel infrastructure, developing 80 one to three star villas, aparthotels and houses totall ing 10,000 rooms in all Cuba.
Last year, Islazul welcomed 12.3% more foreign tourists than in 2008 with Canada still scoring as the # 1 market for Islazul, with a 10% increase in 2009. These achievements, Cañizo explained, were largely due to consolidation of operations with Canadian tour operators, especially for Varadero and Holguin, as well as for longer stays, particularly at the Varadero resort. Another success factor was the reopening of the Costa Morena Hotel in eastern Santiago de Cuba.
Besides Canada, some other principals helped Islazul achieve overall posit ive figures, among them Italy, the result of Presstours in Los Delfines Hotel. The Spanish market was also in good shape all year through circuits/tours arranged by Cuban reception agencies. Added to this was the increase of free tourism and the German market.
Cañizo added that 2009 was also a year to consolidate operations in other markets that until now were in development, such as Russia and the Czech Republic.
Plans for 2010
The director said that Islazul's broad-spectrum goal for next year is to promote tourism in general, emphasizing youth tourism.
Islazul's particular development plans for 2010 include the "Hoteles E" product, short for Hoteles Encanto (Charming Hotels), with three hotels def initely in this category: Gran Hotel of Camagüey, Royalton in Bayamo and Cadillac at Las Tunas, and others under consideration.
The company is also making important renovations at Terrazas in Playas del Este, Lincoln Hotel in Havana, the Oasis and Villa La Mar in Varadero, Costa Morena in Santiago de Cuba, the Royalton in Granma, Hotel Las Tunas and Gran Hotel in Camagüey.
In 2010 Islazul also plans to participate in most of the international fairs and caravans in Cuba's main tourist markets. For the May International Tourism Fair (FITCUBA 2010), Islazul is aiming at the marketing and promotion of all the group's hotels with a special accent on nature tourism in Pinar del Río and Granma.