FITCuba 2018 is set to take place May 2-5, on Santa Maria Key, located on the northern coast of Villa Clara province. Photo: Freddy Pérez Cabrera

The growth of Cuba's tourism industry, despite pressure from abroad and defamation campaigns, is indicative of the confidence this sector enjoys, and of the island's security and stability.

Some 3,000 travel professionals and 140 members of the specialized press are expected to attend the upcoming 38th International Tourism Fair (FITCuba2018), set to take place May 2-5, on Santa Maria Key, in Villa Clara province.

A large portion of attendees are from Canada, which continues to be Cuba's most important emissary market, followed by the Cuban-American community, the United States, France, Britain, Italy, Spain, and Germany.

Industry leaders spoke with the press, noting that this edition of the Fair is dedicated to beach vacations, and that the guest country of honor is the United Kingdom.

Michel Bernal, commercial director for the Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) acknowledged a slowdown, mainly caused by the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which hit the region last September and October, but expressed optimism that the goal of receiving five million tourists in 2018 will be met.

He noted that despite the hostile policy toward Cuba being promoted by President Trump, those from the United States continue as the second largest group of visitors.

The U.S. State Department continues to maintain its travel advisory, recommending that citizens "reconsider" traveling to Cuba, because of alleged "sonic attacks" on its diplomatic personnel here. After months of investigation no scientific evidence has been found to support the accusations.

On the contrary, Cuba recently received an Excellency Award as the world's safest tourist destination, at the International Tourism Fair in Madrid, Spain, last January.