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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Nature in the Tourist Sector's Agenda

Cuba's tourist sector, interested in diversifying its offers as an incentive to increase tourist arrivals, has nature as an essential component in the new strategy by the leisure industry.

Approaching the environment from a beach or a city adds value to the country's tourist product, based on the growing interest by holidaymakers in learning about the situation in Cuba's countryside and enjoying a nearly-pristine environment that calls to adventure.

Therefore, specialized forums are organized regularly, like the International Event on Nature Tourism (TURNAT), which will take place in eastern Cuba this year.

Nature and biosphere reserves, natural landscapes, national parks and protected areas create a network of offers marked by their wealth, excellent preservation and unique characteristics that make them stand out in the region.

In addition, the country's nature tourism strategy is ambitious, as its objectives aim to increase tourist arrivals based on the infrastructure of more than 100 specialized trails and tours designed by Cuba's major companies.

Cuba has a National System of Protected Areas (SNAP) that groups those zones in categories of National and Local Significance, and Special Sustainable Development Zones.

Monte Mar Ciénaga de Zapata, Matanzas
Diving site at Caleta Buena

Moreover, there is a plan for the 2014-2020 period to attend to 77 Protected Areas of National Significance and 134 of Local Significance, totaling 211 Identified Protected Areas.

Cuba also has 14 national parks, 25 ecological reserves and six biosphere reserves, in addition to a fauna of some 16,500 species.

One of the strengths of nature tourism is the Viñales Valley, in Cuba's westernmost province, Pinar del Rio, with its peculiar mogotes (round-top hills), some of which are more than 400 meters high.

In central and southern Cuba is the Zapata Swamp, which covers some 5,000 square kilometers, is considered the largest wetland in the Caribbean region and is inhabited by more than 1,000 plant species, in addition to having a world-renowned crocodile farm.

The 64-meter-high Caburni waterfall, the Martin Infierno cave and its stalactite, which is more than 60 meters high, among other attractions, invite tourists who visit central Cuba, where the most important mountain range in the Escambray.

In the east, Cuba's highest elevations in the Sierra Maestra Mountain Range are the main attraction in the National Park of the same name, where the most autochthonous stories, legends and traditions are complemented by the region's breathtakingly-beautiful nature.

Cuba's tourism industry, which is the country's fastest-growing economic sector, is a reminder of Admiral Christopher Columbus' statement when he said, more than five centuries ago, that Cuba was "the most beautiful land that human eyes have seen".

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