Meliá Hotels International operates 27 hotels and is the leader in the Cuban market, welcoming 3 million tourists in 2014Over 25 years ago, Gabriel Escarrer Juliá, founder and Chairman of Meliá Hotels International, travelled to Cuba to offer the support and know-how, of what was already the largest hotel group in Spain. Over the last quarter of a century the relationship between Meliá Hotels International and Cuba, known as “the pearl of the Caribbean”, has helped to boost and develop the country’s tourism industry.
On 5 May 2015, a celebratory event was held at Meliá Jardines del Rey, a new luxury, all-inclusive hotel in Cayo Coco, to mark 25 years of Meliá Hotels International in Cuba. The event coincided with FITCuba 2015, the country’s Tourism Fair. During the gala dinner, the Chairman of Meliá Hotels International with the Vice Chairman and CEO, Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, expressed their “unwavering commitment to the present and future of the Cuban tourism industry”, in which they expect to remain significant players. The Cuban authorities recognised the “position of honour” that Meliá Hotels International occupies in the history of Cuban tourism, and how much the company, which has “always been at the forefront of international tourism development”, can contribute to the country in a new era in which relations with the USA are stabilising.
25 years ago, Escarrer was dazzled by Cuba’s beauty and future potential as well as being captivated by the Cuban culture and its hospitality. In turn, the Cubans immediately appreciated the significance of working with a global company with the know-how and international experience that Meliá Hotels International could bring to the country. Meliá Hotels International in Cuba has been a tale of collective success, as Gabriel Escarrer said in his speech, “rather than being a mixed team of Cubans and Spaniards, the Meliá group in Cuba was built upon the trust, transparency and commitment of one family.”
Meliá Hotels International’s first Cuban hotel, Sol Palmeras, was commemorated at the recent Cuban tourism fair. Since its opening, Meliá Hotels International has continued to develop hotels through a successful formula based on joint ventures. At present there is a total of 27 properties currently operating in the country with a staggering total of 13,000 rooms, over 10,000 employees hosting 5 million stays in 2014, which equated to 39% of the total stays for the whole island.
Cuba has always been firmly committed to the tourism industry, which generates wealth and employment within the country, and which in 2014 reached its target of 3 million visitors. Sustainability and environmental protection are important factors and some of the reasons why the Cubans are grateful and proud to have chosen Meliá Hotels International in training and supporting Cuban hotel professionals over the years.