The percentage of visitors returning to Varadero, Cuba’s most popular beach resort reached 62% in the first three months of 2014. "A high percentage of people have come a least twice, and others on more than seven occasions," stated Ibis Fernández Peña, representative of the Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) in Matanzas. Varadero has 20 kilometers of fine sand beach, clear waters and a stunning natural environment. According to surveys conducted, among the reasons which motivate international visitors to choose the Matanzas beach resort, during the winter season, are the quality of the beaches, the culture, the people, and the security it offers. Fernández Peña explained that this requires continuing redesign and improvements to the resort’s hotel and non-hotel services, given that vacationers, who return to Varadero on more than one occasion and stay for around 15 days, want to enjoy new options.
"To date the Beatles center, for example, has achieved good results and is always busy. In regards to the Palmeras group, they are working on an important redesign of their products, which include renovation and more options for recreation and leisure activities," she said. Fernández Peña also cited the Bodeguita del Medio, as another good example, which opened December 2013, and has been very well received by visitors. At the dolphin center tourists can interact and swim with the animals. She emphasized that the area’s tourist sector is working to improve children’s and evening activities outside of hotel grounds. Canada was the main tourist market during the previous winter season, while a significant number of visitors also arrived from Germany, followed by Russia and Cuba.
There was a good presence from other emerging markets such as the Czech Republic, which was also a challenge due to limited knowledge of these travelers’ expectations. Varadero prepares for the summer season Work to diversify options, to better satisfy accommodation and recreational needs, is being undertaken to meet the demands of the summer season. The resorts chefs are renowned in Cuba and beyond, for the quality, variety and creativity of the Cuban and international dishes they offer. Matanzas Mintur works collaboratively with the Cuban hotel group Gran Caribe launching new products marketed toward all ages. During the summer season, national tourism is the second most important market in Varadero -140 kilometers east of Havana - surpassed only by Canadian vacationers, the resort’s largest market.
The region, which receives a third of all visitors to the island, has 51 hotels, 70% categorized as four or five star. According to TripAdvisor - the world’s largest travel website - Varadero is one of the 10 most popular beach resorts in the world, and has the largest hotel zone in the country with more than 29,418 rooms. A must-see site is the Las Américas complex, which boasts a shopping and convention center for events not only related to tourism. On the same site is situated the Las Américas hotel and the biggest golf course in the country, which has hosted important competitions. Las Américas hotel has the largest golf course in the country. Among the most popular hotels are the Iberostar Varadero, Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa and the Blau Varadero Hotel Cuba, all of which are 5 star rated and have received national and international awards for customer service. In addition, Varadero has 20 kilometers of fine sand beach, clear waters and natural splendors such as caves and ecological reserves. Among its many attractions are the dolphin center, where visitors can enjoy a show and swim with the animals, and the marina which offers trips to the Punta Hicacos Nature Preserve, as well as and scuba diving. In 2013 the famous Playa Azul received – for the seventh consecutive year - more than one million international visitors. (Granma International news staff)