For centuries, arts and culture have thrived in the capital city of Cuba.
On the cusp of Havana's 500th birthday, perhaps no other event was as fitting last night, than as a special performance from renowned Cuban dance troupe, Lizt Alfonso Dance Company, who took to the stage to entertain, charm, and inspire Canadians to see Havana for themselves this year.
The performance, called Hot Havana Nights, was held at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, on behalf of the Cuba Tourist Board.
"We wanted to thank our partners for their tremendous support, but most importantly, we wanted them to get a taste of what our authentic Cuba promise is all about," said Eloy Govea, director for Canada, the Cuba Tourist Board."
Cuba like you've never seen before
Canadians, who make up more than one million visitors to the island every year, already know about Cuba's world-famous beaches and fantastic resorts.
But Cuba has much more to offer, such as century-old Colonial cities and their outstanding architectural designs, which are still preserved in many cities around the island.
"More than 200 events are taking place to celebrate Havana's 500th birthday," Govea told PAX. "Havana is a magnetic city; this is such a fantastic moment for Cuba because our infrastructure is expanding tremendously, and we'll have more than 100,000 new rooms through 2030."
Nothing says culture quite like an authentic meal, which is why Cuba is excited to share with its visitors, the more than 2,000 new privately-owned restaurants that offer the best Cuban food around—if you've only ever tasted resort food, Govea insists you come get a taste of the real Cuba for yourself.
"Cuba is so close to Canada, and so accessible with our flights from 30 gateways to 10 international airports, and we have fantastic deals all year round," Govea enthused. "Cuba is so safe, and was called the safest tourist destination in the world."
Cuba: where culture comes alive
According to Govea, who resides in Havana, one of the reasons as to why Cuban culture is such a powerhouse is due to the fact that Cubans don't necessarily like doing the same thing twice when they seek out entertainment.
"The energy of the Cuban people is amazing," Govea said. "The artists in Havana are always updating their programs with new things. Varadero is only two hours away from Havana and that's where most people know. They need to know that there's a sleek and efficient way to see this beautiful city for a day trip."
Although Havana is in the spotlight this year, there are seven other colonial Spanish cities to explore, where travellers can get up close with the charming, coloured buildings and classic cars.
As Govea points out, Cuba is also home to more than 300 national monuments, almost 100 theatres, and another 300 museums, and seven national parks.
"With the addition of so many new, magnificent properties, we welcome you, because our portfolio is complete, and we have something for everybody."
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