Feb. 25 - Cuba’s annual cigar festival lights up Havana. Sharon Reich reports.
Cigar enthusiasts rolled into Cuba for the 16th annual Havana Cigar Festival. It's been a bumper year for international cigar sales. Habanos S.A., reported that in 2013 sales were up eight percent, totaling $447 million U.S. dollars. Habanos produces other well-known brands such as Cohiba, Monte Cristo and Trinidad - and the company's Co-President Luis Sanchez expects the market to keep improving in the coming year. SOUNDBITE: Co-president of Habanos S.A., Luis Sanchez, saying (Spanish) : "Expectations for the coming year are fantastic. We continue to have new offers for our customers, our lovers of the Havana and this is the event that I say will have the biggest impact on the Havana. Furthermore, we continue to be a company of Cuban tobacco, premium tobacco. In this case, one of the main lines of the Cuban economy is always the international sale of Cuban tobacco." Two new cigars are being introduced by Habanos at this year's festival, but they'll be off limits to the U.S. market, the world's largest, due to the ongoing U.S. trade embargo imposed against Cuba since 1962. The Havana Cigar Festival will run until Friday, February 28th.