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Culture will Make the Difference in Cuba as Tourist Destination.

posted May 15, 2008, 1:29 PM by Claus Zapffe
HAVANA, Cuba, May 6 (acn)
"Culture can and should be the distinctive element that our country offers visitors," said Cuban Deputy Minister of Tourism Maria Elena Lopez on Monday evening at a press conference before the opening of the Cuba 2008 International Tourism Fair.
The 28th Tourism Fair opened with a performance by the Cuban National Ballet at the Grand Theater and on Tuesday moves to the El Morro Fortress overlooking the Havana Bay, reported Granma newspaper.
This year's focus is on the integration of culture and tourism. "This is a strategic and decisive combination, positioning Cuba as a tourist destination with abundant possibilities that differentiate it [from other markets]," said Lopez.
The link between culture and tourism was planned as the promotional theme of the fair before recent debates at the Seventh Congress of the National Association of Cuban Artists and Writers (UNEAC) brought the issue to the fore.
During this congress, held in Havana in April, numerous criticisms and dissatisfactions were voiced on the way Cuban culture is being implemented within tourism and agreements were adopted to promote a joint effort among tourism entities, cultural institutions and UNEAC to come up with solutions.
Cuban Deputy Minister of Culture Ruben del Valle was also present at the press conference and spoke about the commitment of artists, writers and musicians with the development of tourism. "In addition to the sun and beaches, we can also show off our solid cultural values," said del Valle.
To support this effort, a new guide to Cuban culture for tour operators and travel agencies will be presented on Tuesday.
Cuban News Agency