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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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The Centuries-Old History of Cuba's Streets

The development of Cuba's economy, which reflects directly on society, shows a true mixture of modernity and history that exerts its influence on thousands of vehicles running on the Island's streets.

The appearance of the first motor vehicles in the world had a strong repercussion on the largest Antillean Island, which attracted many entrepreneurs and businesspeople who considered Cuba a starting point for their commercial transactions.

Of course, these magnates' look included a means of transport in accordance with their prestige, so the cobblestone streets of the Cuban capital were soon invaded by the first automobiles, whose high speed for the time scared everyone.

During the 20th century, the Cuban capital's streets - especially the Malecón (seafront) - hosted traditional car races, which were characterized by spectacular and tragic accidents, and were linked to the history of the Island's struggle for independence.

In that context, a group of revolutionaries kidnapped the Argentinean world automobile champion Juan Manuel Fangio, who had traveled to Cuba to participate in one of such races.

The long history of motor transportation in Cuba has left the imprint on thousands of vehicles currently running on the Island's streets, many of which are over 60 years old and show their entire splendor to both nationals and foreigners.

This is one of the mysteries that attracts foreign visitors when they arrive in Cuba, as they cannot believe the miracle that these vehicles are still running in almost perfect conditions, even though their parts are no longer manufactured.

Reality is simple. The vehicles' owners take very special care of their cars and quickly react before any anomaly with the ultimate goal of preserving a patrimony that has already gone into Cuba's history.

Even for tourism, along with modern cars produced by world-known automakers, a company like Grand Car operates a fleet of vintage cars that can be seen at hotels, as they proudly wait for clients.

Modern life imposes its pace, and an increasing number of modern cars from world-renowned manufacturers - Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Hyundai, BMW, Audi, Citroen and Toyota, among others - run on Cuba's roads and streets, meeting the needs of both the leisure industry and the domestic economy.

However, classic automobiles still play their role, and as part of tourism programs, parades and a sort of race between Havana and the beach resort of Varadero are held on a regular basis.

In other cases, institutions linked to the leisure industry have set up clubs of vintage cars in an effort to add a new attraction to the tourist offer of the largest Antillean island.

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