Cuba’s capital Havana has become the place to be seen for celebrities and VIPs. So far this year, the city has hosted U.S. President Barrack Obama, The Rolling Stones, the Kardashians, and a fashion show of top models for Chanel. This week, at an inauguration ceremony, Havana was officially named one of the New7Wonders Cities of the World.
CCTV’s Michael Voss reports.
It was a wet windswept evening, but that didn’t deter senior Communist Party and local government officials from joining the unveiling of a waterfront monument, proclaiming Havana one of the New Seven Wonder Cities of the Wworld.
This was based on an online and telephone voting campaign the Swiss-based foundation, New7Wonders, organized. Havana was one of almost 4,000 cities to enter the competition.
“It signifies and reaffirms what we always knew. Havana is a wonderful place, which we treasure,” Marta Hernandez, president of the Havana Council, said.
The Spanish founded the city of Havana almost 500 years ago in 1519. Much of colonial Old Havana has been restored and is one of the major tourist attractions. The competition winners, though, are an unusual mix. London, Paris, and New York don’t make the cut, while Doha, Beirut, and Kuala Lumpur did.
“In our election campaign, it’s like in the real world, it’s not necessarily the best who wins, but the one who can motivate its voters and Cuba was very successful in sending votes and motivating their expats and tourists to vote for La Havana as their wonder city,” Bernard Webber, president of New7Wonders, said.
This latest endorsement of the unique nature of Havana is likely to provide yet another boost to the tourist trade. But the city is already struggling to cope with the growing number of visitors.
Cuba saw a surge in tourists after mending relations with the U.S. 3.5 million visitors came last year, a 17 percent increase over the year before. Hotels have doubled their prices, while the best private restaurants need booking days, if not weeks, in advance.
Now they wonder, how many more will come?