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
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.