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Without Doubt: The Safest Country in the World for Tourism

The Excellence Award as the safest country for tourism was delivered to Cuba at the #Fitur2018 International Fair

Via Fox News – U.S. tour groups call warnings about travel to Cuba baseless; vow to continue taking Americans to island

All things considered, Cuba is one of the safest destinations for travelers. It is also one of the most unique culturally, politically, and geographically. InsightCuba was the first organization to bring Americans on tours to Cuba, and has perfected the art after years of experience. All InsightCuba tours are staffed with both a Cuban and an American guide who are available 24/7 to help you learn all about Cuba and ensure that you have an experience of a lifetime – an experience that is unforgettable for all the right reasons.

 

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Childhood under attack Via Unicef Dec. 2017.

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Read the report — Childhood under Attack: The staggering impact of South Sudan’s crisis on children.

In South Sudan, children have become the face of a humanitarian tragedy fueled by conflict and economic collapse.

In the world’s youngest country, an entire generation of children is at stake as they face death, injury, hunger, disease, recruitment, forced displacement and loss of schooling since conflict broke out in December 2013. Four years later there is limited progress in bringing hostilities to an end. UNICEF continues to deliver for the children at the center of this conflict.

Read the Full Post HERE

 

Renovated Environment at Cayo Guillermo’s Dolphinarium Via Latin Press

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After recovering from the damage caused by Hurricane Irma, the facility is operating at full capacity during the peak tourist season.

Owned by the Cuban extrahotel group Palmares, the Dolphinarium offers swims and interaction with dolphins.

Continue reading “Renovated Environment at Cayo Guillermo’s Dolphinarium Via Latin Press”

Cuba is Free, Sovereign and Independent: Eleven U.S. Presidents & Counting …

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We are here, and will remain, free, sovereign and independent

Stated Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, closing the National Assembly of People’s Power 8th Legislature’s 10th Period of Ordinary Sessions Via Granma Cuba

It is my responsibility to make the closing remarks for this last Period of Ordinary Sessions of the National Assembly of People’s Power’s 8th Legislature. On this occasion, I will address several topics of national and international relevance.

Between September 8 and 10, the country was struck by Hurricane Irma, described as the most powerful and violent extreme weather event in the history of the Atlantic Ocean, which impacted, to one degree or another, 12 provinces, with strong winds, heavy rain, and severe coastal flooding.

Despite the enormous effort conducted to safeguard the population, that included the protection of more than 1.8 million persons, we were obliged to mourn the loss of 10 compatriots. More than 179,000 dwellings were affected and significant damage caused to infrastructure, national health system buildings, educational centers, the sugar industry, tourist facilities, and communications. For the first time ever, the national electrical grid was interrupted across the entire country.

Read the Full Post HERE

Cuba is roughly 780 miles long. We wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to see it all / Via @insightcuba

 

#Cuba will be ready for tourist high season / without a trace of #HurricaneIrma

Marrero pointed out that tourism facilities in the territories of Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Cienfuegos, Mayabeque, Artemisa, and Pinar del Río, did not suffer any damage, and have been “operating without any difficulties.”

Meanwhile, he described the damage suffered by facilities in Sancti Spíritus, especially in the north, Las Tunas, the northern coast of the province of Holguín, and Camagüey, as minor, while the damages in Havana and Varadero were also minimal.
MAIN DAMAGES

Cuba’s Tourism minister noted that the main damage in this sector was limited to light roofing, false ceilings, broken windows, and green areas.

“Not a single hotel collapsed, nor is there any building where a concrete structure has collapsed,” Marrero explained, adding that while there were reported damages to guano (palm frond) roofs, open air structures and wood elements, these are easily replaced.

He added that many trees were blown down across hotel gardens and tourist poles, yet none of these facilities have been left without vegetation.

He noted that the main resorts to have suffered damage in this sense were Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Santa María, located off the north coast of the country, but that these will be easily resolved in time for the upcoming high tourist season.

In this regard, Marrero highlighted that progress is being made in the recovery and clean-up process. Of the 18 hotels located on Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, the latter of which suffered fewer damages, 14 will be fully recovered by November 1, while the local airport will also be fully operational, and in better conditions than before the hurricane struck. The remaining four hotel facilities will be completely restored to reopen their doors by November 15.

The minister explained that all extra-hotel activities in Cayo Coco will be restored and back in operation between October 15 and 20, including its marina, dolphinarium, glass tower, and beach huts.

Likewise, he added that hotels on Cayo Santa María have the necessary personnel, resources, and strategy to be fully operational and providing services to tourists by November 15.

Regarding the causeways to access these keys from the mainland, Marrero specified that provisional forms of access have been established, and that the Cayo Coco causeway will be totally repaired within 15 to 20 days, and that of Cayo Santa María by November 1.

He also informed that the Cayo Las Brujas airport will be ready by October 15, while the international air terminal in the city of Santa Clara resumed operations on September 25, with the arrival of flights from the United States.

Marrero noted that there has been concern expressed by clients regarding the state of beaches along the northern coast of the country following Irma, and stressed in this regard, “I can assure you that the beaches of the north of the country have considerably improved their conditions after the hurricane, it left us with much more sand and better dunes.”

Of the 52 hotels in the country’s main tourist destination of Varadero, all except five are open and providing services. The damages reported here were to 5,411 hotel rooms, of the total 20,790, representing 26%. So far, 374 rooms have been repaired.

Marrero stressed, “By October 30, there will not be a trace of the hurricane in Varadero,” but added that the five hotels of Puntarena, Playa Caleta, the Paradisus Varadero, Ocean Patriarca, and Meliá Península, will not reopen until November 15. “I am talking about the complete peninsula of Varadero, which is already in its final stage of recovery. Hard work has been done.”

The minister also confirmed that the 11th International Nature Tourism Event (TURNAT 2017) scheduled for September 25-30 in the eastern region of the island, will go ahead as planned, as damages there were minimal.

On the subject of tourism supplies, Marrero explained that discussions were held with the country’s food producing agencies and enterprises, and that the supply of affected products was guaranteed through their immediate import from destinations close to Cuba.

“We have the financing and the contracts for imports, and instructions have been given so that there are no problems with supplies to tourism.

“We are going to provide the standards that each hotel offers according to its category, we have personnel dedicated to this and the mechanisms for distribution throughout the country. The necessary decisions have been made to ensure quality.”

Marrero pointed out that the impact of the hurricane resulted in 50% less tourist arrivals for September; but that through September 22, the country had received 3.6 million tourists. This figure, at the same time last year, stood at about three million. As such, tourist arrivals continue to grow by around 24%.

As part of the gathering with the minister, tour operators visited 11 hotels in Varadero to confirm their excellent condition, including the Iberostar Varadero, Iberostar Bellavista, Meliá Las Américas, Sol Palmera, Memories Varadero, Royalton Hicacos, Ocean Vista Azul, and Barceló Arenas.

VERONICA AND JOSÉ’S EXPERIENCE

Verónica Orellana Rodríguez and José Antonio Triviño Bermúdez, from Cádiz, Spain, decided to spend their honeymoon in Cuba, at the five-star Ocean Vista Azul, one of the most popular hotels in Varadero, given its two magnificent beaches, its admirable infinity pool, and an efficient and personalized service.

“We are on honeymoon in Cuba and we are having a great time. It’s the first time we have come and we have enjoyed everything. Cubans are very friendly and always have a smile for us,” Verónica told Granma International while sunbathing and enjoying a warm breeze by the infinity pool.Meanwhile, José explained that he had really enjoyed touring the cities of Cárdenas and Havana, and that he had not encountered any trace of the hurricane at the hotel. “The beach and the pool are excellent; we intend to return once we can save up a little money.”A few steps away from Verónica and José, Mexican Jorge Alberto González Camacho, general manager of the Ocean Vista Azul, an all-inclusive hotel offering 470 rooms, inaugurated on December 1st, 2015, is attentive to everything occurring in the installation; attending to clients and welcoming a group of tour operators there to verify the rapid recovery of the island’s main tourist destination.“Our facility didn’t suffer any damage, we took all the precautions we considered necessary beforehand to protect our areas, and we removed the loungers and umbrellas from the beach. Following the passage of the natural phenomenon, on Sunday, September 10, we were already serving the buffet table by 1:00 pm,” the young executive noted, explaining that the rest of the hotel’s services were restored in less than 48 hours.He confirmed that the beach was not affected and that in its almost two years of operations, the hotel has seen “impressive, very positive results.”The Ocean Vista Azul, operated by the Dominican chain H-10, in association with the Cuban hotel group Gaviota, mainly receives clients from Canada, but at the time of GI’s visit also had guests from Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Russia, Chile, Colombia, China, France, Peru, and the U.S., among others.Walter C. Martino, a Swiss national of Spanish origin, general manager of the Be Live Turquesa hotel, a four-star all-inclusive offering 268 rooms on Playa Azul beach, explained that the damages caused by Irma have already been 99% repaired.“The restaurant will be fully restored within a week,” Martino noted, adding that tourists have been welcomed back to the hotel since September 20, and they expect to be fully occupied by October 4. “We are telling tourists to come to our hotel and to Varadero, which is a unique experience due to its people and the great hotels we have here, it’s well worth it,” he stressed.Sheila Álvarez, deputy director general of the Be Live Turquesa, stated that the recovery efforts have been intense, with quality work completed in record time. “We worked with a lot of love and commitment, as being able to reopen and resume sales depended on us,” she stressed. Continue reading “#Cuba will be ready for tourist high season / without a trace of #HurricaneIrma”

Cuba tourism sites R back after #HurricaneIrma

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Post by @CubanWindow from the original post: Cuba expert reports Havana and most tourism sites are back after Irma

Cuba took a pounding from Hurricane Irma, with severe flooding in parts of Havana and some towns wrecked along the north central coast.

By now, however, most areas of the capital and other key cities that are frequented by foreign travelers are ready to receive visitors, according to a US-based Cuba expert who just returned from a three-day inspection tour with his team on the island.

Places open for business include Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Viñales and the cities of Camagüey and Holguín, said Collin Laverty, an expert on Cuba and US-Cuba relations and the founder and president of Cuba Educational Travel.All these cities are ‘almost untouched and fully functional,’ according to Laverty, whose company runs trips focused on art, culture, history, politics and economics. He has crafted highly specialized programs for individuals arriving by cruise, and works with lines on market assessment, entry and operations.Even Varadero, a major resort area east of the capital that was hit hard by Irma, has some hotels that were unaffected.

Continue Reading HERE

3 APKs to learn more about the unilateral #blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba

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To learn more about the blockade unilaterally imposed by the United States on the Caribbean island, youngsters have developed 3 APK : Infobloq, Desbloqueando “Unblocking” and Cocoblock / Check It on the Site: CUBA VS BLOQUEO

Infobloq: Cuba report to the United Nations on the blockade until 2016.

Unblocking: tests what you know about this anti-Cuban policy, by asking questions, giving points and linking to Facebook.

Cocoblock: video game, a green alligator is the protagonist who must overcome obstacles imposed by the #blockade.

 

Sending Help: A #Hurricane of Solidarity

 

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The Cuban Government, through the   International Financial Bank (BFI), has set up an account to distribute donations from institutions, individuals and solidarity groups who wish to contribute financially to repairing the material damages caused by #HurricaneIrma as it passes through Cuba.

Under the title: hurricane-donations, No. 0300000004978829, direct monetary contributions can be made in foreign currency from abroad and within Cuba

FMI: Contact the Cuban Embassies or the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment e-mail despacho@mincex.cu or telephone number: 537 8333051.

 

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