Face-to-face with car­l­ito Fuente What’s the pur­pose of your visit?

Virtuozity - - Event -

We were go­ing to have a big cigar event in De­cem­ber, and un­for­tu­nately, due to sit­u­a­tions out of my con­trol, it was post­poned, and I promised that I would come back as soon as pos­si­ble. So we set the date for March, I was very much want­ing to come back, on one con­di­tion—i wanted to avoid mid-sum­mer! But the re­la­tion­ship is so im­por­tant to me that I want to make sure I say hello to these peo­ple who have be­come very spe­cial and very kind to me. I look at it as more of the evo­lu­tion of re­la­tion­ships that have de­vel­oped over the last sev­eral years here in Dubai and the Mid­dle East. I’m not a num­bers per­son, but I’ve been very pleas­antly over­whelmed with the in­cred­i­ble in­creases in the in­ter­nal mar­ket. Duty free has grown sig­nif­i­cantly, but the in­ter­nal mar­ket has been more than I ever an­tic­i­pated. As life goes on, you look back at what you haven’t done, and cigars are ev­ery­thing to me and to my fam­ily. And there’s a lot of development that we have in our fac­to­ries and our plan­ta­tions. We are now ex­pand­ing quite a bit, build­ing mu­se­ums in our head­quar­ters in Florida, also in the Do­mini­can Repub­lic. And we’re de­vel­op­ing Chateau de la Fuente to an­other level. We al­ways have spe­cial, mag­i­cal things com­ing out that will be re­leased. There’s a pos­si­bil­ity that we may in­tro­duce a new brand, but Fuente is in the in­fancy stage here. It takes many, many years of hard work to prove to the com­mu­nity that this is some­thing truly to be re­spected. We have many sub-brands within Fuente, and we’ve only in­tro­duced a few into Dubai. I was born in a very hum­ble, hard­work­ing fam­ily—cigars were our life. I feel very blessed that, through my gen­er­a­tion, cigars have be­come a sym­bol of lux­ury and it’s given me an op­por­tu­nity to meet so many won­der­ful peo­ple with big hearts. And it opened a door to do some­thing that was nec­es­sary, the right thing to do—giv­ing back to com­mu­ni­ties and to oth­ers who are not as for­tu­nate. So we de­vel­oped a non-profit foun­da­tion. And it’s recog­nised by the United Na­tions as be­ing the model of so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity in the Caribbean for giv­ing back. And it’s my life—it’s as im­por­tant as cigars.

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