Trip.com Group has announced a strategic partnership with the Cuban Ministry of Tourism, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), witnessed by Cuban Minister of Tourism Mr. Manuel Marrero Cruz and Trip.com Group CMO Mr. Sun Bo.
“Latin America is an emerging market for us, particularly in terms of Chinese outbound tourism. With its natural beauty, rich culture and local delicacies, Cuba has so much to offer to our customers,” said Trip.com Group CMO Sun Bo. “In working together, particularly in marketing, we hope that our co-operation will bring the people of Cuba and China closer together.”
In 2018, the tourism industry contributed over USD $2.4 billion to the local economy and is regarded by the Cuban government as one of the main driving forces for the country’s economic development. In 2018, a record number of 4.75 million tourists visited Cuba, a number that it hopes will increase to 5.1 million by the end of this year.
Until recently, Cuba has been a relatively obscure destination for Chinese tourists, largely due to accessibility. In 2018, the country hosted 46,000 Chinese visitors, a 10% year-on-year increase. “This is an encouraging initial result for us,” said Cuban Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero Cruz, “but there is much work to be done, and we are working hard to better host our Chinese guests, by increasing numbers of Chinese-speaking guides, and improving our infrastructure, especially in terms of mobile payments,” said Mr. Marrero. “But none of this would be possible without the support of Trip.com Group.”
Since the establishment of a weekly flight between Beijing and Havana in 2015, Cuba has concentrated its efforts on attracting more Chinese tourists to drive its next wave of growth. Serving 400 million users worldwide via its platforms, 300 million of whom are located in Mainland China, Trip.com Group will play a key role in promoting Cuban destinations in the Chinese market as part of the agreement.
“This agreement marks the beginning of a new stage for our partnership with Cuba,” said Mr. Sun. “We are confident that in working together with the Cuban Ministry of Tourism and the local industry, more of our customers from across the globe will be attracted to this exotic Caribbean destination.”