Hola Sun says Hello to Agents

With Martha Chapman

A happy and proud team from Hola Sun

Eloy Govea, Director - Cuba Tourist Board; Silvia Peralta, President - Hola Sun, Victor Veloso, President - Havanatur Group and Javier Domokos Ruiz - Consul General of Cuba in Toronto

Lovely ladies of the Cuba Tourist Board’s Toronto office: Karen Puebla, Lisbet Soberat and Nieves Ricardo

It’s a gutsy move to host a travel agent event on a Friday night. Even gutsier to do to in suburban Mississauga.  However, Hola Sun does it each year and as in past years, the 2015 event got an excellent turnout.

Some 120 agents turned out for the Noche Cubana evening of live music a la Buena Vista Social Club courtesy of the Clave Kings who kept the crowd gyrating through a full dinner, product presentation and prizes.

“We are more than sun and sand,” Tessandra Toste-MacKenzie, sales and marketing coordinator, told the crowd. “We offer nine distinct destinations, more than any other Canadian tour operator, including sun-and-city combos, longstays in kitchenette-equipped apartments, one and two week bike tours, and a culture-and-beach getaway.” One of the more novel itineraries is a 8 day dance tour, combining 5 days of lessons with lots of free time to explore.

The operator works exclusively with Cubana Airlines featuring A320 service from YYZ and YUL.

Of course, there was a lot of buzz about The Great American Tourist Invasion. Brenda Bradley of Melia Hotels, which has 28 properties on the island, says she’s getting a lot of inquiries particularly from medical convention groups. However, as she reminded me, no one knows exactly when the floodgates will open or whether it will affect our experience of the island. As one insider pointed out, chances are Americans will be attracted to the history, architecture and cultural side of Havana and other colonial cities -- leaving the beaches and sip-n-dip pool bars to the Canadians. 

Good news, no doubt, for winter-trapped Canucks always looking for a few rays of sunshine. 


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