London Southside Chamber of Commerce

Phone: 020 8677 6719


Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 - Monday, November 16, 2009

Cuba: Havana, Trinidad & Vinales
Date: November 4, 2009 - November 16, 2009
London Southside Chamber of Commerce was pleased to organise and conduct a Trade Visit to Cuba from 4 to 16 November 2009.

When Christopher Columbus stepped onto Cuban soil in November 1492, he exclaimed that it was the most beautiful land his eyes had ever seen. Since then French, Spanish, English, Portuguese and Italians have all left their influences, making this a truly fascinating island.
From a business point of view the hostility between Fidel Castro and America, together with the American embargo, have severely restricted trade opportunities with Cuba. However, Fidel has now stepped down, President Obama has stated his intention of relaxing restrictions and even American chambers of commerce have started to develop links with the country. So, now seemed an ideal time for LSCC to go.

Our Trade Visit coincided with an International Trade Fair (FIHAV 2009) held in Havana. Following meetings at the British Embassy and Cuban Chamber of Commerce, we visited the Trade Fair as guests of the Embassy and Chamber of Commerce. Previously arranged business appointments with Cuban businesses took place at the Fair and at company offices the following day. Our members were able to use the British Embassy stand to display and distribute their company promotional material and some interesting contacts were made. For example, a leaflet give out by Shahid Mirza of SMS Systems was passed to a Cuban exile in Florida and, as a result, Shahid sold over £100,000 of signalling equipment. There were also ample opportunities to relax and to visit some of the beautiful and fascinating towns and villages in the countryside, in the mountains and on the coast. Our visit to the country was greatly helped by the fact that we engaged local guides throughout our stay.

Fourteen members came on this trade mission. The cost was £1010 per person (double or twin room) and included:
 Direct Return Flights London - Havana
 All airport and local taxes
 Transfers between airport and hotel
 Tourist visas
 Private coach from Havana - Trinidad - Vinales - Havana
 Services of qualified local guides
 Hotel stay with breakfast in Havana
 Hotel stay with full board in Trinidad
 Casas Particulares stay in Vinales

The itinerary was as follows:
• 11:45 am Wed 4th Nov: Depart London Gatwick for Havana with Virgin Atlantic
• 4:30 pm Wed 4th Nov: Arrive Havana; private transfer to city centre hotel
• Thu 5th Nov: Cuban Chamber of Commerce & Embassy reception; visit to International Business Fair
• Fri 6th Nov: Business meetings if required; Optional tour of Havana in vintage American cars
• Sat 7th Nov: At leisure for excursions or appointments
• Sun 8th Nov: Transfer by private coach to Trinidad on the coast
• Sun 8th - Wed 11th Nov: Relax by the beach, visit the town or take local excursions such as the sugar mills or Topes de Collantes eco-resort
• Wed 11th Nov: Transfer by private coach to Vinales in the mountains
• Wed 11th - Saturday 14th Nov: Relaxation, touring or activities
• Sat 14th Nov: Transfer by private coach to Havana. Overnight in 5 star Hotel Nacional de Cuba
• Sun 15th Nov: Transfer by private coach to airport for flight to London; Leave Havana 7:10pm

Our principal contact, who assisted us and helped to arrange meetings in Cuba, was Mr Carlos Alfaro at the Commercial Office of the Cuban Embassy, 167 High Holborn, London WC1V 6PA



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