SAHIC Cuba Hosts Inaugural Conference in Havana

Will Speros • June 2, 2017

The inaugural SAHIC Cuba conference was held in Havana May 15-16th. The two-day event drew 225 attendees from 24 countries to learn about new opportunities in the island nation,  expand networks, and learn where the industry is heading in emerging Cuba.

World Travel & Tourism Council president and CEO David Scowsill delivered a keynote address where he discussed global and regional trends and forecasts, and also encouraged executives to commit themselves to change. During the event, Cuban historian Eusebio Leal Spengler was interviewed by SAHIC founder and president Arturo Garcia Rosa.

“It would not be possible to restore the buildings without social repair projects as well. Nearly 90 percent of tourists to Cuba want to see Havana,” Leal explained during his interview. “And not only do they want to see the cities but they want to meet our people. Not everything will be turned into hotels. It’s important to integrate schools and art, include the community and bring back the history. We are seeing the facilities being born again.”

Deborah Rivas, director general of foreign investment for the Ministry of Commerce and Foreign Affairs of Cuba delivered a talk on how to structure foreign investment in Cuba. A number of Cuban government officials were in attendance as well, including Jose Daniel Alonso, Luis Miguel Diaz Sanchez, and Alexis Trujillo of the Ministry of Tourism of Cuba. Fernando Garcia-Chacon from JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group moderated a panel featuring Francisco Camps Orfila, Cuba deputy director for Melia Hotels International, and Mateo Caldentey Llull, delegate in Cuba for Iberostar Hotels & Resorts.