Cuba... your window to the Caribbean
Offering you a glimpse into the fast-beating heart of passionate Cuba, this year Cuba’s stand repeated with a design that recreated a traditional colonial house, complete with replicas of large floor-to-ceiling windows and pointy red roofs, a more basic version looking to resemble the terracotta-coloured real ones. Completing the picture were various oversized posters and illuminated displays with pictures of the quintessential Cuba everyone dreams about, from the classic cars, to the traditional musicians, the historic cobblestone squares and the immaculate beaches – a window to the Caribbean for sure, but a completely different Caribbean to the one that most envisage… unique in ways that simply cannot be replicated anywhere else (in the Caribbean or the entire world).
Cuba's exhibition booth
As I was saying earlier this year the large section occupied by Cuba at WTM 2015 stood out thanks to its house-like design and striking red roofs, reminiscent of the typical colonial housing you can expect to find in some of the island’s best preserved historic city centres, like those of Havana, Camaguey or Santiago, but most vividly and famously, the ones in time-warped Trinidad. This combined with Cuba’s eye-catching logo of “Autentica Cuba” in bright illuminated white against a red backdground ensured this was not a booth to be overlooked by any passer-by. The Cuba logo alone with its iconic flag-like triangle centred by a lone white star is eye-catching enough to make you stop and look and the overall brightness of the place cannot fail but catch your attention too.
Cuban cigar roller
Coming back for another year (no doubt due to popular demand) the expert cigar roller at Cuba’s stand in 2014 was back once again to wow the passing audience with his cigar-rolling show as he magically worked his hands around cuts of tobacco leaves which he skilfully wound up into fine Cuban cigars. To catch this man’s art in action was sure one of the highlights of Cuba’s stand.
But it wasn’t all browsing, picking up brochures and looking at enticing posters. During our time there we made the most of every opportunity to engage with our partners and build on the brick-like solid relationships we’ve already established after many years of mutual collaboration and working together towards the same goals. We shook hands with the Head of Cuba Tourist Board, Miguel Chang and the Marketing Executive at Cuba Tourist Board, Isabel D. Jimenez (big centre picture) and we interviewed key people at some of the companies we have the strongest bonds with; like Eric Peyre from ACCOR Cuba (top left), Elizabeth Rivas from Melia International Hotels – Cuba (top middle) and Javier Vazquez representing Blau Hotels & Resorts (top right). Other important partners who contributed to our interviews and film-making endeavours included Tamara Rios from Gran Caribe and Ernesto Marante from ROC Hotels (bottom left) Anabel Bofill and Jorge Alberto Garcia from the Cubanacan Group (bottom centre) and finally, the Head of our Cuba Office, Ernesto Blanco (bottom right).
Cuban music and dancing
With a live band performing some of Cuba’s most well-known traditional songs (from Guantanamera to Buena Vista Social Club classics and more danceable tunes), there was hardly any room on the improvised dance floor which filled to the brim in a matter of seconds – as soon as the violin and drums struck the first notes. Some professional dancers dressed in traditional Cuban countryside clothes also took to the stage for further impact to show everybody how it's done - everyone clapped and danced along as Havana Club rum shots were merrily passed around - an authentic Cuban fiesta!