HAVANA, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- In just a few days, the 21st edition of Cuba's Habanos Cigar Festival will kick off to honor the 500th anniversary of Havana and launch new premium handmade cigars to aficionados worldwide.
The long anticipated event, which brings together cigar lovers, experts, executives and traders from around 60 countries, will begin on Feb. 18. It is also dedicated to the host city's upcoming 500th anniversary in November this year.
The festival, which will run until Feb. 22, is also the occasion to honor premium cigars, one of Cuba's leading exports. As usual, there will be a trade fair that has become a meeting point for manufacturers, distributors and consumers from various latitudes.
On this occasion, Habanos S.A., the Cuban-Spanish company which globally commercializes the cigars, has dedicated a special event to one of the brands closely related to Havana.
"The San Cristobal de La Habana brand which also turns 20 years old this year will have custom-made cigars for the occasion and will be showcased at the inaugural gala of the festival," Jose Maria Lopez, the company's development vice president, told Xinhua.
"Trinidad," one of the firm's most luxurious brands, will celebrate its 50th anniversary and new cigar launchings are expected to attract the attention of visitors to the festival.
"This is a brand that in its early years was not marketed to the public as it was used exclusively for state gifts. In the 90's it was launched internationally and we have several initiatives to celebrate this important moment," said Lopez.
"The Trade Fair is the meeting and interchange point for professionals in the tobacco industry worldwide, exhibitors from other luxury goods manufacturers, as well as craftspeople, artists and manufacturers of smoking paraphernalia and gourmet products," added Lopez.
As part of the activities, participants will visit plantations in Vuelta Abajo, in the western province of Pinar del Rio, which is considered to be the best land in the world for growing tobacco.
Guests will also visit factories in the capital and participate in conferences, blind tastings, presentations, contests and the traditional auction of humidors at the closing gala dinner, whose funds are donated to the Cuban health system.