Once again, it is my unhappy duty to declare this Seminar—a part of the VII International Habano´s Festival—concluded.
It has been an honor to have shared with you such memorable moments as the master class in cigar rolling; the Habanos Somelier Contest; the Whisky Challenge; and all the other activities of the Festival, such as the welcome cocktail party, the visit to tobacco plantations and the dinner for distributors—and we still have the crowning touch, the gala dinner, which will be held tonight.
For an idea of the magnitude and excellence of this Festival, just consider that more than 1000 people from 54 countries have participated in it. This testifies to theby itself the importance of the product.
Now, I would like to share some thoughts with you. First of all, my appreciation for the wonderful work that Tabacuba has done to guarantee the quality of the cigars—work that began in the nursery and wound up with the finishing touches that were put on the product. That important work—together with that of Habanos, S.A.; our exclusive distributors and retail sellers; and, of course, smokers—has enabled us to reinforce the leading position of Habanos in the world of premium cigars.
I think we should also talk about the challenges we will be facing in the future, which stem from the many regulations already in effect and the new ones that will be created to govern the sphere of tobacco. I believe that those regulations will enhance the value and presence of our brands throughout the world.
We will continue to develop our strategy of quality, innovation and adaptation to consumer trends, because it has proved successful. We have assumed our responsibility as leaders in the premium market, generating a trend with what are probably the most successful innovations of the last ten years in the world of premium cigars. To cite just a few, take the limited editions, special series, the Siglo VI Cohíba, the Edmundo Montecristo, the Petit Robusto Hoyo de Monterrey and the two new sizes that we are presenting this year under the Partagás brand: the Serie P No. 2 and the Reserva. We will continue surprising and always exceeding market expectations with products that, we are sure, will delight all of you.
In addition, I should mention two absolutely necessary, basic ingredients—what you might call the salt and pepper—of this strategy: the love and passion which all of us who work with this marvelous product in one way or another dedicate to it.
Now, I would like to thank all of the many people who contributed to the organization and success of this Festival—the largest celebration of premium cigars in the world—for the efforts and sacrifices they made in bringing it to you. Finally—and especially—I would like to thank all of you who participated in this Festival and invite you to join us next year in the VIII International Habano´s Festival.
Mr. Javier Terrés de Ercilla, Development Vice-President.