The Cuban monopoly cigar company’s hand-rolled cigars, which include brands such as Cohiba, Montecristo and Partagas, are considered by many as the best in the world, and the festival attracts wealthy tobacco aficionados and retailers from all over for a week of extravagant parties and tours of plantations and factories.
In global sales of Cuban cigars last year outpaced the luxury goods market, which expanded 5 percent, according to consultancy Bain & Co. He put sales growth down to several good tobacco harvests and new products.
The Habanos executive said the outlook was also positive, given solid demand and “excellent” climatic conditions. Hurricane Irma, which wrought havoc throughout much of Cuba last year, left the western, prime tobacco-growing state of Pinar del Rio mostly unscathed.