Program 2017

Monday, May 15

  • 8:00 am – 7:00 pm

    Registration – Badge pickup & Information

  • 9:00 am – 10:15 am

    Networking Express

    Meet, exchange business cards and then move on to the next person. Introduce yourself to numerous strategic contacts in 75 minutes.

  • 10:15 am – 10:45 am

    Welcome Coffee and Pastries – Sponsors’ Exhibition

  • General Sessions

  • 10:45 am – 11:00 am

    Conference Opens & Welcoming Remarks

    • Arturo Garcia Rosa – President & Founder SAHIC
    • Alexis Trujillo – First Vice Minister of Tourism of Cuba

  • 11:00 am – 11:25 am

    Keynote Address: David Scowsill – President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

    “Global and regional trends and outlook for the Hotel & Tourism industry”

  • 11:25 am – 12:10 pm

    Overview of the Hotel & Tourism Industry in Cuba and The Caribbean

    What is the current Tourism and hotel market situation in Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean? Presentation of the main indicators to understand, where we are on the curve and what are the prospects for the industry growth. How to analyze the current scenario and capitalize on trends?


    • Arturo Garcia Rosa – President & Founder SAHIC
    • Janet Ayala Diaz – Director of Promotion and Communication, Ministry of Tourism of Cuba
    • Rico Louw – Account and Customer Manager for Mexico and Caribbean Islands, STR

  • 12:10 pm – 12:50 pm

    Economically Speaking: A Global Economy Glimpse & The Economy Outlook for Cuba and the Caribbean

    What global indicators impact on the region of Cuba and the Caribbean, and which should we analyze in greater depth? What are the economic predictions for Cuba and how can they affect the hotel and tourism industry?

    Presented by::

    • Alina Hernández Montero – PhD in Sciences and Head of the Teaching Department, National Institute of Economic Research

  • 12:50 pm – 2:10 pm

    Networking Lunch

  • General Sessions

  • 2:10 pm – 3:00 pm

    Understanding the potentiality of the cruise market

    What is the reality of Cruises in Cuba and the Caribbean? What is the expected growth for this segment in Cuba? Is there room to add more operations and frequencies? Which are the port regulations and all current regulations for the cruise market in Cuba?


    • Ivet Caballero Roque – Deputy Commercial Director, National Port Administration (APN)
    • Doralis Velázquez Silega – Senior Specialist Ramal Commercial Department, Ministry of Tourism of Cuba


    Louis Alicea – Senior Director, Development Latin America & Caribbean, Wyndham Hotel Group

  • 3:00 pm – 3:40 pm

    Hotel Design & Refurbish Forum

    A deep look at the latest trends in construction, design and technology. Presentation of innovative solutions to address the current challenges of refurbishing existing properties. How to adapt hotels to meet the standards of new international brands? How to ensure that your hotel investment is not a permanent source of expenses that needs to be redesigned in a near future, and at the same time how to meet the demand of the current traveler?


    • Jesus Lacera Linde – Executive Secretary Project Front, Ministry of Construction
    • Marc Fily – Head of Hotel Development, Bouygues Construction
    • Marta Acosta Fernandez – Director General, Empresa de Proyectos para Industrias Varias (EMPROYIV)


    Pedro Diamante – Hospitality Development Specialist, Elandis

  • 3:40 pm – 4:20 pm

    Overview of the current situation for supply on products, FF&E and general services for hotels

    Which are the process and policies for purchase, supply, logistics and storage of products for operating and investing in Cuba? What are the current regulations for the import of articles that complement the local supply? What is the schedule of import duties? Is there any difference in the process or tax treatment between equipment needed for hotels in operation that require renovation, versus those needed for a new hotel?


    • Aglais Lamas Toledo – Deputy Director, Comercializadora ITH S.A.
    • Javier Rodriguez Cabrera – Director General, Empresa Mixta Cubacan S.A.


    Maria del Pilar Macias Rutes – Director General of Operations and Quality, Ministry of Tourism of Cuba

  • 4:20 pm – 4:50 pm

    Networking Coffee Break – Sponsors’ Exhibition

  • 4:50 pm – 5:20 pm

    Understanding how to do business in Cuba: Looking at Cuba as an investment destination

    What are the options for structuring a foreign investment in Cuba today? What processes must be carried out to obtain business permits and how to get the required licenses? What are the regulations for the exchange control regime in force? How can dividends and royalties payments be made abroad?

    Presented by:

    • Deborah Rivas – Director General of Foreign Investment, Ministry of Commerce and Foreign Affairs of Cuba

  • 5:20 pm – 6:30 pm

    Hotel Leaders’ Hard Talk – Chapter I: A view from the top from the most important local hotel groups about the hotel industry in Cuba

    The current hotel market in Cuba told in first person by the most important and experienced local groups. The leaders share their vision on the state of the industry and its prospects in Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean. Likewise, they will tell us how they do business in Cuba from the experience of current successful mixed companies.


    • Carlos Miguel Latuff Carmenate – President Grupo Gaviota
    • Eduardo J. Acosta de Arriba – President Grupo Hotelero Gran Caribe
    • Abelardo Fernandez Falero – President Grupo Cubasol
    • Marisabel Gonzalez Hernandez – Commercial Vice President Grupo Cubanacan

    Moderator: Arturo García Rosa – President & Founder SAHIC

  • 6:45 pm

    Transfer to Hotel Nacional de Cuba by bus

  • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

    Networking Cocktail hosted by the Ministry of Tourism of Cuba

Tuesday, May 16

  • 8:15 am – 8:45 am

    Networking Breakfast - Sponsors' Exhibition

  • General Sessions

  • 8:45 am – 8:50 am

    Welcome Back – Opening Agenda

    • Jonathan Worsley, Chairman Bench Events

  • 8:50 am – 9:30 am

    Keynote Speaker: Eusebio Leal Spengler

    “The history and heritage of Havana, and his vision of the future for Cuba”

    Interviewed by:Arturo Garcia Rosa, President & Founder SAHIC

  • 9:30 am – 9:50 am

    Investment climate and Business opportunities in Cuba

    Get to know first hand: which are the new “booming” destinations and what is happening with the “classic” or usual destinations? Which hotel segment represents a greater opportunity today? Likewise, regarding the current possibilities of financing projects in Cuba, learn how to find the right local partner and what things should be taken into account at the time of the final decision?

    Presented by:

    • Jose Daniel Alonso – Director General of Tourism Development, Ministry of Tourism of Cuba

  • 9:50 am – 10:20 am

    Successful companies and projects in Cuba told in first person

    Through a conversation with the executive of one of foreign hotel companies with a proven track-record in the island, we will try to understand the process of finding the right local partner and what things should be taken into account before any final decision is made on investing, developing and operating in Cuba. By listening to their experiences and track record in the island, we will try to have a better understanding of the strengths, challenges and opportunities in the different areas.


    • Francisco Camps Orfila – Cuba Deputy Director, Meliá Hotels International
    • Mateo Caldentey Llull – Delegate in Cuba, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts

    Interviewed by:

    Fernando Garcia-Chacon – Executive Vice President, Mexico, Caribbean & Central America, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group

  • 10:20 am – 11:00 am

    20/20 Showcase – Projects in Cuba

    20 slides and 20 seconds per slide will be the time to be introduced into some of the top opportunities within Cuba. A timeframe that captures the attention of the audience, appealing to little talking and the effectiveness of images.

    1. Project Grupo Cubanacan, presented by: Yoslandi Alvarez Mena – Main Business Specialist

    2. Project Grupo de Turismo Gaviota, presented by: Raniel Leyva Medina Vice President of Business Development
    3. Project Grupo Hotelero Gran Caribe, presented by: Jose Manuel Perez Gonzalez – Business Director

  • 11:00 am – 11:30 am

    Networking Coffee Break – Sponsors’ Exhibition

  • General Sessions

  • 11:30 am – 12:10 pm

    Update on technology and connectivity

    What is the current situation of technology and connectivity services? Is there a scheduled program to add in the short and medium term companies that could provide connectivity and wireless internet services? What is the foreseen policy regarding online communications and social networks?


    • Ernesto Rodriguez Hernandez – Director General of Informatics, Ministry of Communications of Cuba
    • Tania Velazquez Rodriguez – Marketing & Commercial Director, ETECSA


    Eugenio Macouzet – SVP & Managing Director, Legacy & Caribbean, RCI

  • 12:10 pm – 1:00 pm

    Resilient Design: Is Resilience the New Sustainable Design?

    Learn from the experts how to design hotels to withstand nature and be more resilient in times of less predictable climate changes and natural disasters. Plus, a clear up on the concept of sustainability construction. What has been learnt already in terms of the best existing practices? Is there a strategic side of sustainability? Can Control Budgets & Green building go together?


    • Liora Haymann – Managing Director, OBM International
    • Monica Cuervo – Vice President, WATG


    Mark Martinovic – President & CEO, Hotel Spec

  • 1:10 pm – 2:20 pm

    Networking Lunch + Announcement of SAHIC 2019

  • General Sessions

  • 2:20 pm – 3:10 pm

    Hotel Leaders’ Hard Talk – Chapter II: The international Operator’s perspective on Cuba

    Perspective on the hotels and tourism industry in Cuba from the eye of the experienced international operators already established in the country, and those who are in the preliminary stages of starting activities in the country or have already expressed interest in having presence in the Cuban tourism industry.


    • Eric Rodriguez – Vice President, Grupo Sunwing Travel Group
    • John Flood – President & CEO, Archipielago International
    • Luis Mirabelli – Vice President Development for Latin America and Caribbean, Wyndham Hotel Group


    Clay B. Dickinson – Managing Director, Latin America and Caribbean, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group

  • 3:10 pm – 3:50 pm

    What’s new in the air? – A new direction in aviation, in and towards Cuba.

    An in-depth analysis of the current air-market situation, the most recent changes and the opportunities for long-term growth in this area. Through this presentation, we will seek to understand the future of air travel through the power of available data.

    Presented by:

    Mercedes Vazquez González – Director of Air Transport and International Relations, Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Cuba (IACC)

  • 3:50 pm – 4:15 pm

    The vision of investment groups interested in business opportunities in Cuba


    • René Bernard Beil – Managing Director, Beaufort Global Partners LLC
    • Fredrik Jonsson – Managing Partner, MEREHA

    Interviewed by:

    Jonathan Worsley, Chairman Bench Events

  • 4:15 pm – 4:30 pm

    Special Closing

  • 4:30 pm

    Conference Ends