Sol Meliá has recently signed agreements to manage a further four luxury hotels in Cuba. The hotels will be incorporated between the last quarter of 1998 and the first few months of 1999.
The hotels are all currently under construction and will offer a total of 1,375 rooms. They are located in Havana (Meliá Confort Habana), Holgu’n (Meliá R’o de Oro), Ciego de çvila (Meliá Cayo Coco) and Matanzas (Paradisus Varadero).
The three new contracts - an agreement has existed for the management of the Meliá Confort Habana for two years - have been signed with the local tourism companies Cubanacán, Gran Caribe and Gaviota and are exclusively concerned with the management rights for the mentioned hotels.
The Executive Vice President of Sol Meliá‘s Cuban Division, Mr. Gabriel Canavés, considers that the agreements “will assist us to achieve greater penetration in a destination with enormous tourism potential and which is already the favoured holiday location of hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, in line with the Sol Meliá objective of offering the highest quality hotel facilities in destinations, such as Cuba, that are increasingly popular with tourists from all over the world.”
Between 1992 and 1995, the number of tourists visiting Cuba increased by 62.2%, making the country one of the leading destinations for Canadians (21.6% of the total), Italians (17.3%), Spanish (13.5%) and German (8.6%) visitors.
The Company first started operations on the island in 1990 and, according to Gabriel Canavés, these eight years have “meant another important phase in the consolidation of our strategy of globalisation and diversification, creating new and modern hotel facilities and allowing an important transfer of hotel operations know how.”
The agreements also suppose a greater variety in the type of hotels the Company is able to offer in different Cuban locations, allowing Sol Meliá to satisfy the needs of the growing demand for Cuba with hotels from Havana to Varadero and Playa Esmeralda to Cayo Coco.
Sol Meliá currently manages 8 hotels in Cuba which, along with the four new hotels, will further strengthen Sol Meliá‘s position as the undisputed leader in the Cuban hotel industry, with a total of 4,278 rooms.
The hotel industry in Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the most important elements in the region’s economy, and has been boosted in recent years by ever-increasing numbers of visitors. The occupancy levels in hotels in Latin America has risen from 60.1% in 1994 to 62.7% in 1996.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Latin America accounted for approximately 2.9% of world tourism in 1996, a figure which is expected to rise to 3.3% by 2006, when the region is forecast to be achieving the highest tourism growth rates in the world.
Sol Meliá is the leading hotel company in Latin America and the Caribbean, the third largest in Europe and the fourteenth ranked hotel company in the world, with more than 245 hotels in 25 countries.