Cuba holiday industry within Cuban economy
Cuba main holiday resorts
Cuban economy focused on health services and tourism
Tourism, health and cigar are today Cuba's main export items. The island has been promoting its tourist attributes abroad in order to encourage foreign visitors to spend Cuba holidays and continue to revive its economy.
Cuban exports of goods and services generated $9 billion (£ 5.6 billion) in income in 2011, a 20 percent increase over the previous year. Tourism and health services have played a significant role in attracting foreign tourists to take Cuba holidays and working together in order to promote the island as a destination for medical tourism.
Antonio Carricarte, Cuban senior deputy minister of foreign commerce, said that Cuba is diversifying its exports and relying less on established sectors such as nickel and sugar. Services such as tourism, health care and computing currently make up more than 70 percent of revenue.
According to Carricarte, the strategy is to consolidate the most important export items generating incomes and incorporate areas from the results of major branches, including biotechnology, genetic engineering, science and technology in general.
Tourism is Cuba's second main source for foreign currency after medical services exports. Last year, international tourism generated $2.1 billion (£ 1.3 billion), an amount that generously contributed to the island's domestic economy.
Since medical services exports are Cuba's first main source of income in foreign currency, health tourism plays a vital role in the recently updated economic model of the country, offering foreigners over 100 treatments such as cancer treatment, drug addiction programmes, dentistry, cosmetic surgery and specialised care for the young and the elderly.
Servimed, a state-owned company offering medical holidays in Cuba to foreign patients, is strongly backing and supporting a Cuban effort to increase for-profit medical exports. It has the goal of reducing domestic expenses and contributing to the development of the national health system and to promote Cuba travel.
The leisure industry in the island continues to grow this year. The number of travellers enjoying Cuba holidays is still on the rise as the tourism infrastructure is considerably improving the comfort of hotel rooms and the quality of service.
There are programmes underway to continue to place traditional sectors in the international commerce, including sugar, rum, nickel, cigar, citrus, honey and seafood, after having all undergone major reductions.
With its favourable climate, beautiful and pristine beaches, friendly people, colonial architecture, distinct cultural history and rich traditions, the island has long been an attractive destination for many holidaymakers, who come year after year to enjoy the unique beauty and charm only holidays in the island can offer.