HAVANA – An auction of exclusive Cuban cigars, considered among the best in the world, raised more than 19 million dollars, which will be donated to the island’s health system, according to organizers.

The closing gala of the 24th edition of the Habano Festival in the early hours of Saturday morning concluded with the auction of the cigars and a dinner attended by President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Premier Manuel Marrero.

This version was dedicated to the 55th anniversary of the Trinidad brand, one of the twenty or so that Habanos S.A., a joint venture between the state-owned Cubatabaco and the British-Spanish Altadis, has a worldwide monopoly.

The evening was the culmination of a week dedicated to Cuban cigars with the participation of some 2,900 participants from 108 countries, including high-level aficionados and entrepreneurs dedicated to the business of this luxury product.

There were seminars, visits to the torcido factories -which are made by hand- and to the plantations in the western province of Pinar del Rio, where the best leaves used for torcido are produced, according to authorities.

The auction of humidors -the boxes that contain the cigars- closed with an amount of 17.8 million euros (some 19.3 million dollars at the exchange rate on the date) -the currency in which the bidding took place-, a higher figure than the previous year.

Company executives reported this week that they had achieved record global cigar sales figures in 2023 of some $721 million, 30% more than in 2022.

Habanos S.A. cannot sell in the United States, the world’s largest market, due to the sanctions imposed by that country against the island. Businessmen assure that China and the Asia-Pacific area have become the most important consumer niche, along with Spain, France and Switzerland.

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