In the midst of the current boom in the Cuban leisure and travel industry, it is worth briefly examining the practices of the Publicitur S.A. Communications Agency. The enterprise, which offers comprehensive promotional and publicity services to the Ministry of Tourism and its entities in Cuba and around the world, is responsible for the most important events of this sector, such as the annual International Tourism Fair (FITCuba), the Havana International Trade Fair (FIHAV) and the International Nature Tourism Event (TURNAT).
According to Publicitur President Amalia Rangel, tourism is a responsible branch of communications, which requires active efforts in line with the latest trends and using service providers specialized in producing advertising and promotional materials. Likewise, it is crucial to maintain close ties with different companies and organizations, which enable effective and up-to-date information and communications regarding tourist destinations on the island.
Rangel acknowledges that new information and communications technologies have displaced classic advertising means. “We must reach our market through the language they like to hear and see,” she notes.
Meanwhile, the sustainability of tourism promotion, in addition to keeping up with the most recent global trends, requires a quality product and this depends not only on the natural wonders Cuba has to offer, but also on the welcoming nature of its people, Rangel explains.
Immersed in the 37th edition of FITCuba, held May 3-6 in Holguín, the communications specialist reports that the event demonstrates the extent of efforts on the island to improve the country’s tourist image and promote “the attractive natural, cultural and historical sites of a destination of extraordinary beauty and security, with a cultured and hospitable people.”
Rangel adds that this is the Cuban tourism industry’s most important annual event, with a growing number of specialized participants from a range of countries hoping to take advantage of new business opportunities and ensure the sustainability of others. “It is a time for tourism to provide up-to-date information on its destinations, modalities and products,” she explains.
AN EXTENSIVE ALLIANCE WITH MUTUAL BENEFITS
According to the Publicitur president, certain initiatives, such as EBM Marketing Solutions, a company established in Cuba in 2004 with its headquarters in Spain, must be mentioned when referring to the most outstanding suppliers in the advertising and publicity sector. EBM has provided ideas and modern products to Publicitur in their mutual efforts to promote Cuban tourist destinations.
“EBM and Publicitur maintain common points in tourism development, through a committed working relationship. In other words, the extensive presence of EBM in Cuba has facilitated the understanding of the objectives of the sector and results in more dynamic negotiation and contracting processes. Such was the case of the participation of this foreign company in the production of exposition materials for FIHAV 2016,” Rangel notes.
EMB Marketing Solutions is legally affiliated with the Representation Agency of the Ministry of Culture (RECSA). According to company representative Mirtha Carmona, for more than a decade, EBM has worked to support the Cuban policy of defending the close relationship between culture and tourism, and has understood its essential importance for the dissemination of the country’s identity to the world. Hence, she notes, one of the firm’s main markets for promotional materials is that of tourism sector companies.
Initially, Carmona recalls, a very harmonious process of marketing personalized promotional products was carried out, starting with EBM as supplier, Comercial Lauros de Artex S.A. as buyer and tourism companies as final recipients of these goods and materials.
In this way, materials that reflected the works of Cuban visual artists were developed for hotels. These allowed both for the promotion and identification of a particular hotel through its own brand, and the dissemination of Cuban artistic culture, one of the island’s key national attractions, among visitors.
Using the same concept, EBM provides promotional materials to be sold in the tourist sector. Examples include folders decorated with works by Cuban painters and souvenirs for the National Museum of Fine Arts and shops of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry and the Artex chain, as well as a digital communications project for the Paradiso Cultural Tourism Agency.
EBM, which proposes marketing specially designed for Cuba, has sustained ongoing working ties with tourism companies in their publicity efforts. This is demonstrated in the diversity of personalized promotional materials it produces (uniforms, flags, radios, umbrellas, coolers, napkins, exhibition media for fairs, tents) for hotel chains and non-hotel services companies, with not only productive but differentiated proposals, according to the standards of each brand.
Carmona emphasizes that FITCuba 2016 offered EBM the important responsibility of decorating the La Cabaña exposition venue, and developing the promotional campaign for the Fair. On that occasion, she highlights, the company offered real-time coverage of the event across social networks, with a strong emphasis on the promotion of Cuba as a tourist destination.
The experienced Spanish firm presented a new catalog of equipment and services related to the latest digital technology, which provide comprehensive solutions to ensure tourists’ connectivity during their stay on the island.
Likewise, the catalog offers light and modern devices, such as wireless chargers for cameras and cell phones, designed to ensure visitor comfort at any tourist site. The novelty and functionality of one of these tools earned it the Design Award in the last edition of FIHAV.
Carmona notes that the current limits on imports suffered by Cuban companies impacts on the sales capacity of EBM products, despite the growing demand.
Given this scenario, the EMB representative highlights that they have been working since 2016 to redirect their commercial strategy, changing the pattern of selling imported products for that of managing the advertising investments of foreign companies interested in making themselves known on the island, as occurred last December with the participation of EBM in the establishment of Turkish Airlines operations in Cuba.