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Medical and Wellness Tourism in Cuba

Councilor Madelén Gonzales Pardo Sanchez for Tourist Affairs - image courtesy of M.Masciullo

Wellness tourism is 30 years old and has developed over time by adding the service of doctors from Cuba to holiday destinations.

“Cuba is ready to welcome tourists again and to offer travel experiences in the name of carefree and fun, characteristic of this Caribbean paradise, but in total safety and in compliance with the new health protocols.”

This was the first strong message launched to tour operators in Italy at BIT Milano 2022 by the new Cuban Ambassador in Rome, Ms. Mirta Granda Averhoff, stimulating the promotion of tourism in the name of safety and sustainability.

The Cuban economic tourism revitalization plan

Ms. Madelén Gonzales Pardo, Councilor for Tourist Affairs of the Cuba Embassy in Rome, launched a second message recently addressed to the press at the Cuban embassy in Rome, revealing the projects regarding economic and tourism revitalization along with the program of activities from the second quarter of 2022 related to health tourism in Cuba.

“Wellness tourism is 30 years old and has reached important developments over time by adding the service of Cuban doctors to all holiday destinations. The ‘Health in Cuba’ program includes therapies and treatments with Cuban technology that help stop the progress of cancer cases,” said the Councilor.

She added that they also offer a center for neurological restoration; personalized treatments; various types of surgery, health, and wellness programs (for the elderly); drug detoxification; and rehabilitation.

“Telemedicine medical advice [is also available via] online consultations that attract hundreds of patients from the world including the USA and Canada. Thermalism – these centers have a high level of service and attract professors from the world to study their characteristics,” the Councilor added.

Events in 2022-2023

ECOTOUR-Turismo Naturaleza has returned as Cuba’s most important promotion. Working groups will discuss different topics on “Land and Sea” at the La Giralda recreational center, the Vignales Valley, naturalistic and safe tourism.

From October 17-20, 2022, the first International Medical Tourism and Wellness Fair, FITSaludCuba, will be held in the Cuban capital at the Palexpo exhibition center. The meeting will take place as part of the 15th Feria Salud Para Todos and will be a propitious scenario to discuss, deepen, and implement the country’s strategy in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will have the support and management of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, the Comercializadora de Servicios Médicos Cubanos S.A. (an institution celebrating its 10th anniversary), the Cuban Ministry of Health, and the Chamber of Commerce.

The purpose of FIT-SaludCuba is to present products, experiences, and advances in health tourism in the archipelago and to the world, in order to consolidate international alliances aimed at the sustainable development of this modality.

Other important events in the year include the first international seminar on medical tourism and wellness, focused on the key themes of the marketing models of medical tourism and trends in the development of wellness; and the second International Forum on Foreign Investments in the Health Sector, a special space to promote and deepen foreign investment opportunities in Cuba, with innovative development prospects.

The organizers of the events stimulate the participation of professionals from the health and tourism sectors, institutions and associations, international hospitals and clinics, hoteliers, insurers, tour operators, travel agencies, logistic institutions and medical suppliers, technology, media providers, and others related to the health tourism industry.

Italian Pavilion

From November 14-18, 2022, Hav22 – the Havana international fair – will host the Italy pavilion. This will be followed by the “All Crafts of Cuba” Handicraft Fair, which will be attended by foreign operators with their products to sell in Cuba.

At CUBA 2023, the Habano Festival returns for cigar lovers around the world.

Tourism safety and restart

In correspondence with the improving evolution of the international and national epidemiological situation of COVID-19 and the immunization levels achieved, the Cuban government has decided to eliminate the obligation to enter the country where the test for COVID-19 (antigenic or PCRRT) is performed in the country of origin, as well as the certificate of vaccination against COVID-19.

The collection of samples for the SARS CoV-2 test (free) will be carried out randomly by travelers at the points of entry into the country, taking into account the number of flights, the number of ships arriving, and the epidemiological risk presented by the country of origin. If the sample taken at the point of entry is positive, approved protocols will follow for clinical-epidemiological control by COVID-19.

Hub Particular

Participatory policies have been set to promote crafts as an engine of inclusive and sustainable development and the program of exhibitions, events, and fairs for the year 2023. The international project “Hub Particular” – participatory policies for crafts as an engine of inclusive and sustainable development, funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), started last January, and will take place over the next 2 years.

Between Italy and Cuba

The mission that the project pursues is to contribute to the development of partner countries by acting in support of the governance capacity of local institutions and the population through the promotion of professional training services aimed at including local communities in an integrated and sustainable development process with particular attention to vulnerable groups and female entrepreneurs, the purchase of machinery for craft workshops, including those for ceramics.

In particular, young Cuban entrepreneurs who work in the artisan sector may  improve their standard of living for an increase in the entrepreneurial skills of their companies following the modernization, training, and creation of a showcase for collaboration between companies, according to the principles, sustainable and inclusive economy, and for the increased competence of employees of public bodies and entrepreneurs who will participate in the training activities of the project aimed at international markets.

The planned actions include training of public officials, young entrepreneurs, and social marginalization, as well as intergovernmental exchanges and scholarships for young female entrepreneurs, modernization of machinery for craft workshops, creation of a central production space that also acts as a showcase, management of addressed goods to international markets, and a reference point for international tourism. Creation of a network that makes possible the internationalization of local Cuban producers and their tourism development in the sector is a prime focus.

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About the author

Mario Masciullo - eTN Italy

Mario is a veteran in the travel industry.
His experience extends worldwide since 1960 when at the age of 21 he started exploring Japan, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Mario has seen the World Tourism develop up to date and witnessed the
destruction of the root/testimony of the past of a good number of countries in favor of modernity/progress.
During the last 20 years Mario's travel experience has concentrated in South East Asia and of late included the Indian Sub Continent.

Part of Mario's work experience includes multi activities in the Civil Aviation
field concluded after organizing the kik off of for Malaysia Singapore Airlines in Italy as an Institutor and continued for 16 years in the role of Sales /Marketing Manager Italy for Singapore Airlines after the split of the two governments in October 1972.

Mario's official Journalist license is by the "National Order of Journalists Rome, Italy in 1977.

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