Indira Lopez Arguelles, Cuban Consul General in HCM City, revealed the information at a workshop themed “Cuba – a destination within reach” held in the city on May 9.
The Consul General said tourism is an economic sector recording the fastest growth and the second biggest foreign currency earner in Cuba.
In 2017, a record number of over 4.7 million tourists visited the country and tourism revenue hit US$3 billion. Cuba is likely to become the second largest tourist destination in Central America after Mexico, with the flow of visitors estimated to reach 12 million in the upcoming years.
However, the country now has just 82,000 hotel and guesthouse rooms run by private owner, she said, adding that the figure is falling short amid the rapid rise in the number of tourists.
Cuba wants Vietnamese enterprises to boost their investments and develop services and tourism products in Cuba to capitalise on local potential and strengthen economic ties between the two nations, stressed the diplomat.
Le Truong Hien Hoa, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Promotion Agency, said tourism is a spearheaded sector of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City in particular. The fact, in combination with fruitful traditional relations with Cuba, creates favourable conditions for the nations to promote tourism cooperation, he added.
Hoa also noted that Cuba is considered one of the potential markets for tourism businesses in Vietnam, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Xuan Lam, Vice Director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City, pointed to the fact that the Cuban market is become more open and the Cuban Government has been calling for investments in building seaports, railways, airports and IT infrastructure.
This is a great chance for Vietnamese firms, who in turn need to promptly get updated on the market, understand local preferential policies for investors in tourism, and build feasible business plans, Lam suggested.
Besides, Vietnamese businesses should diversify products and services, and further promote Vietnam’s images to Cuban people in a bid to foster tourism development of both nations, he added.