Air China will contribute to strengthening Cuba’s commercial ties – Juventud Rebelde

Air China will contribute to strengthening Cuba’s commercial ties – Juventud Rebelde
Air China will contribute to strengthening Cuba’s commercial ties – Juventud Rebelde

Cuba will strengthen its ties with China as soon as the opening of the Beijing-Madrid-Havana route occurs next Friday, an achievement that is added to the implementation of visa-free entry to the archipelago for citizens of the Asian giant, with ordinary passports. .

Song Wei, professor at the School of International Relations of the Foreign University of China, considered the flight to be of great importance in promoting South-South cooperation and development between both nations.

In this way, he added, the resumption of the link will contribute to the arrival of Chinese consumers to Cuba and will boost the economic progress of the largest of the Antilles, “a small island country” where “tourism is an important economic pillar.”

The Chinese ambassador to Cuba, Ma Hui, wrote in his X profile that “the new direct flight between Beijing and Havana will bring the two towns closer” and “will facilitate travel between Havana and Madrid and to other directions,” Travel reports. Trade Caribbean.

Press reports show that just half an hour after the news of the visa exemption to visit the Island was announced, during the closing of the International Tourism Fair, the number of Chinese Internet users searching for keywords such as hotels and Airfares to Cuba on online travel platforms increased by more than 40% compared to the previous day.

The “preferential policy”, of great importance in “many senses” is another of the topics highlighted by the media. Firstly, to further improve relations between China and Cuba, since the visa is a symbol of sovereignty and a “barometer” of bilateral relations.

Between 2010 and 2019, the number of Chinese tourists who visited Cuba increased around 23% per year, placing the Asian country’s market among the top 15 senders to the Caribbean destination. The Covid-19 pandemic stopped that trend and in 2023 only 18,003 arrived.

However, the interest in developing links remained. In March 2023, representatives of the Havanatur International Group and the Chinese tour operator Tumei International Travel signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the arrival of tourists to Cuba, to enjoy a reliable and safe destination, the Chinese side said then.

After the signing at the Meliá Cohíba hotel, Rodrigo Wen, vice general manager of the agency specializing in tourism in Latin America and the Caribbean, declared that Cuba is a priority destination on its agenda and is among the clients’ preferences.

During his most recent visit to China last November, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz presented the tourist attractions of the Cuban destination and stressed that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Cuba is expected to reach a new high in 2024.

As part of the Cuba destination’s strategy to promote the development of the Chinese market, in March 2021 the Ministry of Tourism and the China Tourism Academy signed a memorandum of understanding on tourism cooperation that covers academic programs, research and training.

More than 4 billion people live in the Asia-Pacific region, approximately 60% of the world’s population, and there are the most populated countries in the world, such as India and China. The Asian giant is experiencing one of the fastest and highest increases in the number of middle and upper class citizens in recent decades.

In the years prior to the covid-19 pandemic, the Chinese outbound tourism market occupied the first position globally, both in number of tourists and in spending on international trips.

Although in absolute numbers the trips from that source market to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are still far from those going to destinations in Asia or Europe, in recent years a growth trend has been observed.

Sector authorities in Cuba have publicly referred to the relevance of these “emerging” markets in the development strategies of the national tourism industry.

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