On Monday morning we met with students and professors in tourism from the University of Havana. Their program and perspectives are very different and it was great to share and learn with our new Cuban friends. We listened to presentations by our professors and theirs, Professor Torres and Professor Diaz, regarding sustainibility and distribution.The most interesting part was when we divided into groups and discussed different points regarding sustainibility and social media in Cuba. Obviously social media in Cuba is limited, but they had some wonderful ideas about sustainibility. One of the professors mentioned the first step is to change the mindset of the Ministry of Tourism against secrecy. Data is difficult to collect in the private sector too as they are cautious to answer financial questions, they fear that any student interviewing them is actually working for the government. Hearing the way they do research and work within this system and with this government was fascinating. The tourism sector is very controlled by the government but not well regulated and regulations really are not followed in regards to the environment and sustainibility. It was great to discuss these challenges and ideas with the Cubans about sustainibility and data in our industry. When we return to Havana on Saturday we are going to spend more time with our new friends who showed us around their beautiful campus!
Camila y Ilana