An event that has become a tradition
By Mercy Ramos, Photos: Publicitur
The International Fair of Tourism in Cuba (FITCUBA) has already become a tradition within the tourism sector because, as well as its indisputable importance in raising awareness of the island’s offers and innovations within this industry every year, it has become an eagerly awaited event that brings together the most well known professionals, specialists, travel agencies and tour operators from all over the world, the majority of whom favour the West Indies as a destination.
It is for this reason that every May Cuba hosts the most relevant and lustrous within the world of tourism, which has become one of the most prosperous industries for many countries on this planet, because, as well as facilitating people to have a healthy holiday, the destinations allow the possibility of becoming acquainted with the natural beauty, culture and traditions of the country.
Based on the guidelines of tourism - an activity that fosters a combination of healthy recreation and leisure, as well as being enriching and instructive - Cuba created the conditions necessary to achieve a sustainable development in this industry ever since the decade of the 60’s in the last century, by means of establishing a policy in favour of promoting the country’s cultural, historic and natural attractions.
1959 was the year when Cuba initiated the development of this sector, with Havana serving as the headquarters for the first time for the 9th Convention of Representatives in Tourism (ASTA), with the participation of more than two thousand representatives from 82 countries.
It can be claimed that this was the point of departure for future activities, directed towards the promotion of what is called the industry without chimneys, which each time attracts more followers.
In 1963 the National and International Tourism Company (ETNI) was founded, a predecessor of the travel agency Cubatur, that was a pioneer of the sector in most of the West Indies, and which in 1980 organised the first Cubatur travel convention.
The headquarters were in the Havana Libre hotel, and over 300 delegates and agents from more than 200 travel agencies attended from all over the world.
From then on, this meeting became an annual event with head offices in Havana and Varadero respectively.
It began to hold such importance in the travel sector that it took on different names, such as the Travel Convention Cubatur, the Travel Trade Show Cubatur and the Tourism Convention, until finally it became known as the International Fair of Tourism (FITCUBA) There have been many milestones that have impacted on the history of this important event. However, without doubt, it should be emphasised that FITCUBA in its almost four decades of life has had great achievements, which have permitted Cuba to position itself as one of the main destinations in the Caribbean.
For the island’s directors and specialists in this industry, FITCUBA is an ideal forum for exchange and trade. Furthermore it allows for the drawing up of strategies for future actions in terms of the country’s projections, and, at the same time, to get to know the travel agencies and tour operators that commercialise this destination. Lastly it allows for a better understanding of the participants’ countries with regard to the cultural and traditional environment, and in particular, that of the guest country that is chosen each time.
This year, FITCUBA is dressing up in full regalia, specifically on account of the fact that the 500th anniversary of its foundation will be held in the Cuban capital. This is why Havana is preparing for this huge jamboree, which, without doubt, will transpire drawing thousands of visitors this coming 16th of November.
Something important that should be mentioned is that FITCUBA’s 2019 headquarters, the Morro-Cabana Park, with its big lighthouse - the trademark of the fair - the symbol of the capital’s defence, that for centuries has welcomed every vessel arriving in Havana’s bay, this year will probably celebrate the expected and far from insignificant number of five million visitors.