With over a million Canadians visiting Cuba every year, many are excited about the possibility of extending their stay and doing business with this warm and friendly island nation.
Those with business savvy soon learn of the Havana International Fair (FIHAV), which is the largest annual multi-sector trade fair in Cuba and a key venue for new businesses to make their mark in the last communist stronghold in the western hemisphere.
Canada and Cuba share a long history of mutually beneficial relations dating back to the 18th century. Today, Canada and Cuba continue to grow their economic and commercial relations with the help of the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.
The 31st edition of FIHAV took place from November 3-9, 2013 and welcomed over 1,400 companies from 65 countries. Canada has had its own pavilion for over 17 years and consistently welcomes an increasing number of Canadian companies.
This year 57 Canadian exhibitors and 54 visitors participated, including representatives from the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), and company delegations lead by the Government of Québec and Nova Scotia Business Inc.
FIHAV is important because it gives businesses an unparalleled opportunity to access publicity, strategy and results.
Publicity through local media is very limited in Cuba and is often based on word-of-mouth. In this centralized economy, Cuban decision-makers view participation as an exhibitor in the Canadian pavilion as a strong endorsement from Canada.
Cuban buyers rarely seek new business opportunities through conventional methods like calls for bids, terms of reference or purchase orders. They select a small group of companies — often on an informal basis — that they approach individually. FIHAV is part of this selection process.
Since this year was such a success, the Canadian Embassy in Cuba will begin taking reservations for next year’s FIHAV in the spring of 2014. For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org