Assessing the tourism performance of a destination: Toward a new approach using Cuba as a case study

Hugues Seraphin, Vanessa Gowreesunkar, Mary Ann Davilla Rodriguez, Nevya Davilla Pagan

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Tourism is an important economic activity in Cuba. The island is the second most visited of the Caribbean and is ranked as second in the ‘Big 6’ (Séraphin & Dosquet, 2016) based on its tourism performance in the region. Among the factors that account for this success are the years of socialist government, the US imposed trade embargo, and the restructuration of several core economic principles within the island community. In contrast, recent studies on Caribbean islands reveal that when the multi-criteria ELECTRE method is applied to assess tourism performance, the ranking differs. Based on this observation, it is plausible to suggest that an evaluation of the tourism performance of Cuba using multi-criteria ELECTRE method might provide new insight on the tourism direction of the destination; the rationale being to understand whether Cuba will be able to maintain its leadership and position in the ‘Big 6’. With this as background, the main objective of this study was to investigate the tourism performance of Cuba using the multi-criteria ELECTRE method. This conceptual research paper based on literature review therefore adopts a Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) approach and applies the Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). Specifically, the study focuses on how the performance of Cuba are assessed using a MCDA framework and the criteria chosen are explained. Methodologically, the study is conducted in three stages; the first stage looks into a list of indicators contributing to the competitors of islands in the Caribbean; in the second stage, tourism indicators applicable to Cuba are identified; the final stage utilises the results of the first two stages to feed into a framework and examines the performance of Cuba based on a set of indicators and criteria derived from empirical evidences. The application of the MCDA was helpful to establish the success factors at the destination whereas the Blakeley Model was helpful to establish the weak areas impeding the performance of the destination. In so doing, the present study contributes to the body of meta-literature in the field of tourism and the multi-criteria ELECTRE method. At the methodological level, it represents the first application of ELECTRE method in a post conflict, post-colonial and post disaster destination. From an academic point of view, this paper contributes to the body of meta-literature on tourism in Cuba which, at the moment, remains rather limited. Finally, the study sets the groundwork for the assessment of tourism performance using the MCDM method in post-colonial, post conflict and post disaster destinations. The study ends with few recommendations and a note on future research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical essays in tourism research
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781536133844
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2018


  • Tourism performance
  • tourists
  • Cuba
  • Tourism
  • Competitiveness
  • MCDA
  • Performance

Cite this

Seraphin, H., Gowreesunkar, V., Davilla Rodriguez, M. A., & Davilla Pagan, N. (2018). Assessing the tourism performance of a destination: Toward a new approach using Cuba as a case study. In Critical essays in tourism research (pp. 71-104)