HAVANA – The giant US online travel company Expedia announced on Tuesday its entry onto the Cuban market, which will allow hotels on the island to post their offers on all the group’s Web sites, the company said in a statement.
“We’ve been working around the clock with Cuban hoteliers to offer this iconic, culture-rich destination to our global consumers, with the added convenience of online booking through a trusted travel partner,” said Demetrius Canton, Expedia’s director of market management for the Caribbean.
With its new operation in Cuba, Expedia joins other large US tourism companies like Starwood, though amid uncertainties about the future of relations between the two countries considering US President Donald Trump’s criticism of the thaw begun by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.
According to the statement, the firm is pleased to offer hotel bookings for individual travelers on behalf of its new hotel partners in order to help Cuba grow and contact the greatest number of potential guests.
With its entry into the booming Cuban tourist market, Expedia says it seeks to benefit local hotels with its tools, technology and experience.
On the hoteliers’ side, the corporate commercial director for Latin America of the Spanish hotel group Barcelo, Josep Brichs, was quoted in the statement as saying “we are excited to make Barceló properties in Cuba accessible to travelers on Expedia platforms around the world.”
In 2016, the island registered for the first time in its history the record number of 4 million foreign visitors, and in 2017 expects to attract 4.2 million tourists.
To date in 2017 the island has welcomed 2 million foreign visitors, 39 days before the same number was registered last year.