Melia Creates an Import Company to Ensure the ‘High Standard’ of Its Cuban Hotels

The Spanish firm will manage two new facilities on the Island, in Ciego de Ávila and Matanzas

Meliá will inaugurate the Meliá Costa Rey on the North Keys of Ciego de Ávila on July 1 / Meliá Cuba

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 16 May 2024 — The poor results of tourism in Cuba do not seem to deter foreign hotel companies that do business with Havana. Despite the drop in its profits on the Island in recent years, the Spanish Meliá plans to open two hotels this year, in Cayo Coco (Ciego de Ávila) and Varadero (Matanzas) – two fewer than in 2023 – in addition to an import company, and the Indian hotel chain MGM Muthu plans to inaugurate, using its own airline, several domestic routes within the country.

Both announcements were made during the 2024 International Tourism Fair. Meliá will inaugurate the Meliá Costa Rey on July 1 in the Cayería Norte of Ciego de Ávila, “located on the first line on Las Coloradas beach,” explains Cubadebate. The complex, which belongs to the state hotel group Gran Caribe, has 566 rooms and part of its structure will be adapted to house ’The Level’ section, a new brand incorporated by the Spanish company that offers adult only luxury spaces.

“The establishment will have six restaurants, bars, family rooms in the standard area and multipurpose rooms for conventions, with capacity for up to 200 people,” adds the official media.

Indian hotel chain MGM Muthu, using its own airline, plans to inaugurate several domestic routes within the country

The second inauguration, that of Sol Hicacos Varadero, will take place on November 1. The hotel, according to the press, will be intended for a public over 16 years of age and will use, after the “transformation,” the old Turquesa hotel. The complex is located near the enclave’s dolphinarium and several “ideal spots” for diving, such as the Varahicacos ecological reserve. Regarding the measures necessary to conserve this enclave, where endemic plants and animals are found, as well as migratory birds, both the press and the hotel industry leave it to the public’s imagination.

Meliá reported that it created its “own import entity,” Mesol. And it adds: “it will undoubtedly contribute to maintaining the high standards of service that characterize the accommodations we manage.” The Spaniard was careful to say it, but the truth is that, from towels to construction equipment, the resources she needs to maintain her “high standards” are not available on the Island.

The beginning of an “ambitious” reform plan from 2023 to 2026, as described by Cubadebate, could be another reason that leads Meliá to try to control the import of the products it needs. As the company explained at the fair, at least six of the facilities it manages are being renovated. “In hotels such as Sol Palmeras, Meliá Varadero and Meliá Las Antillas, the renovations will focus on the rooms; while in the Meliá Las Américas, Meliá Habana and Meliá Cayo Coco hotels, the improvements will be more ambitious, reaching common areas, restaurants, etc.,” the outlet asserts.

Meliá also announced the renewal of the brand of the Jagua hotel, in Cienfuegos. “It will operate in 2025 as INNSiDE Cienfuegos Jagua,” explained the company, which aims to bring its customers closer to the Cienfuegos cultural and gastronomic experience.

Meliá also announced the renewal of the Jagua hotel brand, in Cienfuegos

The Indian MGM Muthu Hotels is advancing in leaps and bounds and plans to involve its airline, Muthu Aviation, in its hotel management on the Island. This was confirmed to the official State newspaper Granma by the owner of the conglomerate, Nesamani Maran Muthu, who assures that “the future is in the Caribbean.” According to his plans, domestic flights would be made between four destinations: Cayo Coco, Cayo Santa María (Villa Clara), Santiago de Cuba and Holguín.

With this project “it is expected to increase the number of visitors to Cuba, especially those from Asian destinations, such as India,” the Island’s Ministry of Tourism told the media.

The authorities also granted Muthu a new hotel in the Sierra de Cristal, Holguín. This is Segundo Frente, managed until now by the Cubanacán Group, with 600 rooms.

Compared to other Caribbean markets, which have already recovered their pre-pandemic visitor numbers, such as Mexico or the Dominican Republic, Cuba continues to lag behind and is unable to reach the numbers it aims for.

On April 19, the National Office of Statistics and Information revealed the official number of tourists who arrived on the Island in the first quarter of the year: 809,238 international travelers, just 56,807 more than the previous year in the same period. This figure threatens to hinder the annual aspirations of the authorities, 3,200,000 tourists this year, since it represents only 25.2% of the objective. In 2023, as of April, 21.4% of the projected 3.5 million had been achieved and the final figure was only 2.4 million.

The interest of large hotel companies like Meliá does not seem to wane and, on the contrary, they continue to look for ways to revitalize the sector

However, the interest of large hotel companies such as Meliá does not seem to wane and, on the contrary, they continue to look for ways to revitalize the sector. This Tuesday the Council of Ministers approved the creation of Publisset, an “economic association” between the Cuban agency Publicitur SA and the Spanish agency Disset Consultores Comunicación y Marketing SL.

“Publicitur is a communication and advertising services company linked to the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Cuba, specialized in the design and production of advertising and communication materials, aimed primarily at the field of tourism,” Cubadebate clarifies.

According to the media, the new company will specialize in “the provision of services from Cuba to foreign companies located in the national territory or outside it, which currently import services and productions because they do not have companies that provide them in the country, or with high international quality standards” and one of its expected clients are “tourism companies, especially in countries in the Caribbean area.”

The visa exemption for Chinese tourists and the implementation of an electronic visa so that travelers can quickly manage their trip to the Island are other of the regime’s most recent measures to recover the sector.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.