In line with the significance that the country attributes to this industry, the Sectoral Programme for Science, Technology and Innovation proposes to accompany, through scientific research, the sector’s development strategy, the sustainable use of resources, the design of new products, increasing the quality and efficiency of tourism management, accelerating the incorporation of new technologies, and guaranteeing accurate information for effective decision-making, José R. Daniel Alonso, Director General of Development at the Ministry of Tourism (Mintur), explained to TTC.

He stressed that the application of science, technology and innovation can provide solutions in the management of tourism services in the post-pandemic context, and with a view to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda; a criterion ratified by Ramón Pomes, head of the Sectoral Programme, who believes that this initiative can contribute to raising the tourism competitiveness of the destination.

Endorsed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, and the MINTUR’s Technical Advisory Council, the Programme… Programme foresees, in the period 2022-2025, the implementation of projects that promote the increase of tourist expenditure and the gradual increase of the average stay; the generation of productive chains and the sustainable use of the country’s natural and anthropic resources; characterise the issuing markets; study the opportunities for the promotion of health, nature, culture, events and incentive tourism and others; introduce the principles of local development and competitiveness criteria as the basis for the management of entities, modalities and destinations based on the training of the actors related to the activity: companies, organisations, local governments, entrepreneurs, community, among others.

Sustainable and intelligent destinations
Cuba has a privileged nature, therefore, it is a priority to establish public policies, norms and sectorial procedures for the development and/or regulation of the operation of sustainable tourism products, said Daniel Alonso.

In this sense, Ramón Pomes affirms that “today, tourists are more susceptible to the sustainability and sustainability of the tourism product, which is why, associated with the Programme, results are expected to contribute to the achievement of both objectives”.

Likewise, the projects that make up the Sectoral Programme will identify technologies to be introduced in the sector according to international practices and the Cuban reality, while contributing to the development and evaluation of “Smart Destinations”, which – as the researcher states – go beyond connectivity, and involve the use of Information and Communication Technologies both for trip planning and, once at the destination, the management of services from mobile devices. In this context, the beach resort of Varadero is set to become Cuba’s first smart destination.

Successful strategy
According to those interviewed, the Sectoral Programme has been satisfactorily received, both by the sector’s entities and by central state administration bodies, provincial and territorial governments, and the country has the qualified human potential necessary for its implementation.

“We are currently advising the projects that respond to the Macro-Programme of productive transformation and international insertion, in which science and innovation can contribute from its management, referring to the strategy for the export of medical services, health tourism, wellness and quality of life, and the development of the extra-hotel tourism product as a complement to accommodation, accompanied by the non-state sector and local development”, underlined the General Director of Development of Mintur.

“The programme… will allow us to obtain results that will enable us to retake the relevant role of the sector in contributing to the country’s economy and also contribute to the preservation of the environment and the fulfilment of the guidelines of the Task Life”.

“The main challenge is to make the industry more resilient to the impact of climate change in the short and medium term. With this first Sector Programme we intend to set a precedent for the development of similar initiatives that contribute to stimulate and strengthen the activity of Science, Technology and Innovation in Cuban tourism”.