Two of Cuba┤s major beach resorts, Varadero and Jardines del Rey, have set record numbers in the arrival of tourists, a sign the islands hospitality industry keeps growing at a steady pace, Tourism Ministry sources highlighted. A record number of 22,628 tourists chose to have a happy Valentine in Cubas travel destination of Varadero. The figure local authorities say- set up a new high of stays in one single day for the island nations premier beach circuit.
However, the flow of incoming sunbather was ever higher the following day (Sunday 15) when 22,867 travelers from more than eight countries mostly from Canada- stayed overnight.
This amount shattered the previous record of 22,542 trippers that woke up in Varadero last New Years Day.
All through last week, the number of tourists that stayed in the so-called Blue Beach soared over the 21,000 mark, a good indication experts say- that makes good on the forecasts made for the ongoing high-peak season.
On the other hand, Jardines del Rey, a growing beach resort in northeastern Cuba, welcome 6,176 foreign tourists Sunday, a record number for a day in the history of this destination in Ciego de Avila province.
The arrival of tourists in Jardines del Rey so far this year has grown 18 percent compared to the same period of 2002, Tourism Ministry official Eduardo Veiga highlighted.
The increase of visitors, mainly from Canada, Great Britain and Germany, helps maintain a high level of employment in this tourist resort, the official added.
The Cayo Coco international airport, opened more than a year ago, receives an average of 33 flights every week from different parts of the world.
Jardines del Rey, some 500 kilometers east of Havana, has 3,300 rooms; a new 308-room hotel will be opened shortly.
Tourism authorities in both provinces have set out to diversify the tourist offers by adding such modalities as ecotourism, long-haul travel, incentives, events, cultural tourism, sports and nautical activities.
On another issue, the Gran Caribe Hotel Group netted in Varadero $98 million in 2003 for a solid 25 percent growth from 2002, while occupancy rates hovered in the neighborhood of 70.5 percent.
Gran Caribe runs 4,600 rooms in Varadero, scattered in 13 four-star and five-star hotels.
Nine of those resorts are also managed by world-class hotel companies like France-based Accor, Jamaicas SuperClubs, and Spanish giants Iberostar, RIU, Barcelo and Hotels C.
Gran Caribe has a payroll of 3,400 employees working in all-inclusive hotels and resorts in Varadero alone.
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