TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - January 13, 2015) - New Year celebrations in Cuba started early this year, as the country recognized a significant milestone within its fast developing tourism industry. On the evening of December 30, 2014 in Cayo Coco International Airport, travellers disembarking from Sunwing planes arriving from Ottawa and Toronto were treated to a display of traditional dancing and presented with island flowers, as one lucky passenger from Toronto was recognized as being the country's 3 millionth visitor.

However this was not the only cause for celebration for the Sunwing Travel Group in Cuba, as the travel company observed a number of significant milestones of their own in the destination during 2014. The travel group's hotel management company, Blue Diamond Resorts, expanded its operations to become the country's second largest hotel chain by the close of the year. Key additions within the collection included the creation a new brand, Starfish Resorts, aimed at more budget-conscious, fun loving travellers together with the introduction of the group's first city hotel, the Memories Miramar Havana; located on 5th Avenue in the prestigious Miramar district and minutes away from the historic centre of Cuba's iconic capital. Blue Diamond Resorts' premier brand, Royalton Luxury Resorts, also enjoyed their own success as Royalton Cayo Santa Maria was voted the #1 All Inclusive Resort in the World by TripAdvisor.

Sunwing Airlines also expanded their programs to include more destinations from a greater number of Canadian gateways than ever before. Varadero now benefits from direct connections from 20 Canadian gateways; also new for this season is a direct flight service from Montreal to Cayo Largo. The popular tourist destination of Holguin can now be reached from Charlottetown, and Cayo Santa Maria will benefit from three additional gateways (London, North Bay and Val d'Or) for the first time this winter.

Director of Canada, Cuba Tourist Board, Eloy Govea commented, "As Canada's largest tour operator to Cuba, I am glad to inform that it was a Sunwing Airlines flight that carried the 3 millionth passenger on December 30, 2014 into Jardines del Rey International Airport in Cayo Coco. We are delighted to have been able to share this important milestone with them."

Andrew Dawson, Chief Operating Officer for the Sunwing Travel Group added, "Cuba is an extremely popular choice amongst our clientele as it combines a perennially mild and sunny climate with a wealth of vacation activities and broad accommodation options to suit all tastes. We are proud to offer Canadians over 130 flights a week across our gateways from coast to coast to this varied destination. It's no surprise that we have seen continued growth for several years and early indications are that this trend will continue in 2015."

About Sunwing Travel Group

One of the largest integrated travel businesses in North America, Sunwing Travel Group is comprised of Sunwing Vacations, the leading leisure tour operator in Canada; Sunwing Airlines, Canada's premier leisure airline; Signature Vacations, one of Canada's leading tour operators for all inclusive package vacations and Vacation Express, a growing tour operator in the United States together with the Group's own travel retail businesses and Luxe Destination Weddings. Blue Diamond Hotels & Resorts is the Sunwing Travel Group's own hotel management company, an innovative organization that operates resorts under the 'Royalton', 'Memories', 'Starfish' and 'Grand Lido' brands across the Caribbean, Cuba and Mexico; while NexusTours provides destination management services to individuals, agencies, tour groups, corporate businesses and tour operators.

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Contact Information:

For all media enquiries, please contact:
Rachel Goldrick
Corporate Communications Manager
Sunwing Travel Group