World Tourism Organization warns about ‘toxic’ travel to Cuba

Travellers are being warned about dangerous levels of alcohol in Cuba, and one travel company has been fined £50,000 by the organisation for its role in the country’s alcohol-fuelled tourism industry.

The Travel Association of Cuba, a group that represents more than 70 travel companies, was fined last month for its failure to report on a spike in alcohol-related incidents at hotels in the city of Santiago, which has become the countrys first tourism hub.

The association, which represents more that 70 travel and leisure companies, told the Independent that its actions had led to a “toxic” environment that had led visitors to drink more than usual.

“We are very concerned that there is now an unhealthy atmosphere in the hotels in Santiago,” said the organisation’s executive director, Alejandro Fernandez.

Fernandez said the association was “disappointed” at the fine.

“We have already lost about $150,000 from our business in the past few months, we are not making money, and we don’t have any future,” he said.

But he added that the organisation was taking steps to try and mitigate the issue.

“There are more and more restaurants in Santiago that have started opening their doors and that is encouraging people to go there,” he told the newspaper.

Tourism is one of Cuba’s main economic sectors, with tourism generating $20bn (£12.6bn) in annual revenues.

But tourism has also been a target for the government of President Raul Castro.

Last year, the Cuban government passed a law banning alcohol sales in the capital Havana.