Gaviota Group’s Cuban hotel rooms are about to increase dramatically in the next few years, the company has announced.
At a Toronto media event on Wednesday morning, Gaviota Vice-President of Marketing Frank Oltuski detailed plans for the substantial development between 2015 and 2018, during which Gaviota Group is planning to build 15,000 rooms across the country, including Havana, Varadero, the keys of the North of Villa Clara, Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Holguin and Baracoa.
Gaviota Group (which works in cooperation with international brands that manage the majority of the group’s hotels, including Melia, Riu, Iberostar and Occidental) currently owns about 55 hotels in Cuba, representing 24,000 rooms. With all those additions, Gaviota Group will operate the majority of the country’s total 62,000 hotel rooms. Through the project, Gaviota is also addressing the need for diversifying its travel portfolio, including a focus on building in Havana to benefit from the tourism opportunities provided there.
“I would like to let you know that Havana is at the center of our development,” Oltuski said. “In this way, we answer the strategic necessity of diversifying the Cuban product beyond sun and beach, in which urban and socio-cultural tourism are prominent.”
Oltuksi added that infrastructure improvements in the country are concurrently taking place alongside the planned increase, including airport upgrades as well as construction of expressways that are currently underway.
In addition to the more than one million Canadian visitors to Cuba every year, Oltuski said that Gaviota is also hoping to fill the new rooms with visitors from European nations such as Germany, England, France, Italy and Poland, which are among the markets being targeted with increased flight connections to the island.
As for the group’s existing hotel rooms, Gaviota executive president Carlos Latuff said that plans are in place to renovate many of those facilities in the coming years.