The Dominican Republic is studying the possibility of speeding up meetings between Cuban and Miami families in its territory, said Jacqueline Mora, that country’s deputy minister of Tourism.
“It is something we are studying right now. There are already two airlines operating and we also have American tour operators working with several airlines in Cuba. We are sitting down with them, to improve the process of the meeting of Cubans in the Dominican Republic”, explained the high official during the International Tourism Fair of Madrid (FITUR).
In statements to Radio Television Marti, Mora insisted that family reunions take place “with respect for Cuba”, in reference to the fact that Dominican authorities “make sure” that Cubans from the island “return” to their country. He did not mention how they achieve such an objective.
“We made a strategy of uniting families. For every ten Cubans from the island that we brought in, about 60 came from Miami. It is not only for tourism, it is a matter of humanity. These reunions are fabulous,” the deputy minister added.
Mora recalled one of the first flights, an experience in which she lived “the reunion between two grandparents and 22 people, including grandchildren who did not know each other”.
Dominican Republic advances, Cuba falls
In 2022, the Dominican Republic surpassed foreign visitor arrivals by 5%, while Cuba fell by 65%. In the deputy minister’s opinion, this occurred because countries such as Jamaica and Cuba were slow to reopen their doors, among other factors.
“We opened very fast, with a super strict protocol. We made a sanitary bubble. We created an assistance plan with which, if you went to the Dominican Republic and something happened to you, we covered you with respect to Covid-19,” Mora explained.
However, in his opinion, Jamaica and Cuba “opened very late.”
“We prioritized the vaccination of the tourism sector. That was not done by Jamaica and Cuba. Cuba had its own vaccine, which was not tested worldwide. In addition, Cuba’s main issuer, Canada, also opened late,” said the official about the results of 2022.
The Dominican Republic’s success was also influenced by the “strength of the North American market” and by the strategies between the public and private sectors in the Caribbean country.
FITUR 2023 kicked off on Wednesday in Madrid. The King and Queen of Spain, Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, inaugurated the leading trade fair in the Ibero-American tourism market, with the participation of more than 8,000 exhibiting companies and 120,000 professionals.
▶️Esta morning the King and Queen presided over the inauguration of @fitur_madrid, which has experienced significant growth in its 43rd edition.➡️https://t.co/dSgafmK2eH #FITUR2023 pic.twitter.com/XKvt7YzY2k
– H.M. The King’s Household (@CasaReal) January 18, 2023
The event was attended by Cuba’s Minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos García, to meet with Spanish companies, seek new investments and present the “Cuba Única” campaign.
Havana’s stand jointly hosts hotel companies and tour operators.
According to “Preferente” magazine, Spain’s leading magazine in the sector, FITUR is “an opportunity” for destinations like Cuba to “reverse the weak tourism recovery they have been experiencing compared to their competitors.