A Date for Professional Tourism
At the beginning of the second half of the 20th century, Cuba laid the foundations for the establishment of tourism with a social character that would give the opportunity to combine recreation and leisure in a single act in a healthy, enriching and instructive way. It is then that this activity begins to be outlined in view of a sustained and sustainable development.
The year 1959 marks the beginning of a maxim of Cuban tourism: promoting the natural, cultural and historical attractions of the Island to leave behind the stigma that Cuba was a prolific place for the development of vice and gambling. Work is started from a new vision and actions aimed at restructuring the Cuban tourism system are implemented.
The first international event related to tourism in Cuba took place in Havana, from October 17 to 24, 1959 and was the ninth Convention of Tourism Agents (ASTA). More than two thousand agents from 82 countries, accompanied by their relatives, visit the Cuban capital. Unprecedented figures in the eight conventions made previously.
In 1963, the National and International Tourism Company (ETNI) was born, a direct antecedent of the Travel Agency Cubatur S.A., in charge of the attention to the incipient tourism that began to see the Island as an interesting destination. It was not until 1980 that Cubatur convenes the I Cubatur Travel Convention, based in the emblematic Hotel Habana Libre in the Cuban capital. The event aroused international interest, provoking the participation of more than 300 delegates and representatives of more than 200 travel agencies in the world.
Successively, the meeting begins to reach greater relevance and international acceptance. As of its emergence, it was held every year and alternated locations between Havana and the resort of Varadero. The event had several names: Cubatur Travel Convention, Cubatur Travel Trade Show, Tourism Convention, until it was finally called the International Tourism Fair of Cuba FITCuba.
These annual meetings, based on debate and negotiation, have led the tourism industry in Cuba to follow truly flourishing steps since its inception. The International Tourism Fair has considerably boosted the plurality and quality in the offerings of products and services, having a favorable impact on the evident growth of the arrival of vacationers to the Island.
From 2005 to 2011, the Morro-Cabaña Historical Park was the official headquarters of FITCuba. This complex, integrated by the Castle of the Three Wise Men of Morro and the Fort San Carlos de La Cabaña, is part of the Fortification System of Havana, and has been declared by UNESCO in 1982 Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In addition, a guest country is previously selected, and the event is dedicated to a specific tourist modality.
The Ministry of Tourism of Cuba, organizer of the event, as part of its strategic policy in the sector, decided to bring the International Tourism Fair closer to the destinations to be promoted. In this way, the fair was based in 2012 on Cayo Santa María, belonging to the keys of the province of Villa Clara; in 2013 to Varadero; in 2014 to Havana, in 2015 to Cayo Coco and Guillermo in Jardines del Rey; returns to Havana in 2016, the year in which it was declared Wonder City.
In its 37th edition in 2017, FITCuba took place in Holguín, based on the Hotel Pesquero in Guardalavaca; and in 2018, as it is a region generously benefited by the nature and beauty of its beaches, the North Keys of Villa Clara are resumed.
Havana, a fascinating city that will soon reach its 500th anniversary, founded this year the International Tourism Fair in its 39th edition, FITCuba 2019, which will be based on the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña – construction of the eighteenth century, which It is part of the Historic Center of Old Havana and its System of Colonial Fortifications, declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1982.
FITCuba has managed to position itself as the main professional event of the Cuban tourism industry; becoming an ideal space for contact between specialists, managers and tourism companies with a presence in Cuba. It has allowed to draw up strategies, policies and actions in the tourism market; Become familiar with Cuban destinations and products, as well as learn about the culture and tourism of the guest country.