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Cuba expects more Chinese tourists
Updated: 2004-08-29 10:25

Cuba, the Caribbean island country with breathtaking scenery, expects more Chinese visitors and is working with China to operate a direct air route between the two countries, said Omar Pereira Hemandez, Cuban embassy official in charge of tourism, Saturday.

Cuba, the first outbound tourist destination for Chinese travelers in the western hemisphere, has received more and more Chinese visitors recently. In order to attract more Chinese tourists, the Cuban embassy has endeavored to shorten the visa issuing time, he said.

The Cuban Tourism Ministry also planned to open a representative office in Beijing to provide better services to Chinese travelers.

The civil aviation authorities of two nations are now discussing the possibility of opening the first direct flight from Beijing to Havana, aiming to make the city a gateway for Chinese tourists in their southern American tour.

Now, Chinese travelers have to transfer flights via Frankfurt of Germany, Paris of France, Moscow of Russia and Vancouver of Canada to reach the tropical nation.

Cuban tourism authority has approved nine travel agencies to offer service for Chinese travelers, and strengthened training for Chinese-speaking tour guides.

The first five-star hotel in Havana with Chinese investment has already opened to host Chinese tourist groups, Omar said.

In recent years, tourism has become one of the pillar industries in Cuba, along with cigar and sugar manufacturing, said Samuel Savariego Capuano, chief representative of Cubanacan, the nation's biggest tourism group.

Cuba is a world famous ecotourism destination.

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