French companies seeking greater role in Cuban tourism
HAVANA, May 24 (Xinhua) — Several French companies have announced plans
to reinforce their presence in Cuba as the island country’s tourism
industry has started to flourish.
French hotel chains Accor and Warwick International Hotels (WIH) said
they are working to incorporate new hotels at Cuban tourist attractions
such as the beach resort of Varadero and the Jardines del Rey archipelago.
Accor said it hopes to begin with a luxury hotel of 518 rooms in
November. It will be the first Pullman hotel in Cayo Coco, a small
island located in Jardines del Rey in central Cuba.
To run the new facilities, Accor will work with state hotel group Gran
Caribe through an agreement reached during French President Francois
Hollande’s recent visit to the Caribbean island.
Jean-Philippe Claret, a senior Accor executive, said his company has
been in Cuba for almost 20 years.
Accor currently runs two medium-sized establishments on the island: the
Mercure Sevilla La Habana with 178 rooms in Old Havana and the Mercure
Playa de Oro with 385 rooms in Varadero.
“The Pullman Cayo Coco will enrich Cuba’s range of luxury hotels which
has a real potential to develop the country,” added Claret.
Accor will also work with local tourist group Gaviota to build luxury
hotel Sofitel So La Habana.
The new recreational building will have 218 rooms located in a central
corner of Havana’s promenade, almost at the mouth of the entrance to the
Another French hotel, WIH, will enter into the island’s tourist sector
by means of contracts with Gaviota group to run the Cayo Santo Maria
Resort in Jardines del Rey, which will be opened in June. The company
will also open the Naviti Resort in Varadero.
Air France said it will schedule another flight from Paris to Havana
since October, which will increase the flights from Paris to the Cuban
capital to 11 per week.
During the summer period, the French airliner offers a daily Boeing
flight from the Charles de Gaulle airport.
The route will be strengthened with four additional flights per week
this winter, said the company.
In Havana last May, directors of Cuban airline Cubana and Air France
signed a memorandum of understanding for commercial cooperation, hoping
to strengthen commercial links.
In 2014, more than 100,000 French citizens visited the island nation.
The majority of French visitors stayed in the Varadero beach resort,
which is 130 km east of Havana.
This year, Cuba’s tourism authorities foresee increasing visitors due to
a large variety of tours that combine history, culture, heritage and
In 2014, Cuba drew some 3 million visitors. The tourism sector generated
an annual income of over 2,500 million U.S. dollars.
Source: French companies seeking greater role in Cuban tourism –