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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Tourism and Foreign Capital

Cuba's tourism industry, a fast-growing sector in the Caribbean island due to the increase in tourist arrivals, is carrying out major investment projects with foreign capital.

With prospects to receive more than four million foreign vacationers, tourism authorities have identified some 140 projects that might be included in the Portfolio of Business Opportunities in late 2017.

The new strategy consists of promoting the growing presence of extrahotel products, including theme and aquatic parks.

Undoubtedly, among the actions being successfully taken is the administration of hotels by foreign chains, totaling 114 hotels nationwide.

Those establishments account for 66.8 percent of Cuba's rooms, as a result of 86 administration contracts signed with foreign companies.

Likewise, the new plans include the construction of golf courses that will not be associated to real estate projects.

Center for the Development of Visual Arts
View of the Castle of the Three Kings of El Morro from Havana`s Malecón
Meliá Varadero. Bird`s-eye view

In that regard, Cuba's first airport hotel is in its final stage of preparation and will be built by a joined venture.

In addition, tourist plans are moving to the west of the Cuban capital, where the Mariel Special Development Zone will need new hotels, extrahotel facilities and real estate projects.

The development strategy points to renovating the hotel rooms through restorations, enlargement and new constructions, and increasing the number and standard of rooms.

During the first five months of 2017, Cuba's tourism industry incorporated 67,700 rooms, and that number is expected to exceed 68,000 by the end of the year.

In a long term, 224 hotels will be built and 32 enlargement projects will be carried out, in addition to 23 projects linked to recreational nautical activities.

In Havana, Cuba's capital, the Packard Hotel is scheduled for inauguration next year and in 2019, the Prado y Malecón Hotel will start up operations.

By destinations, Varadero shares 37 percent of the hotels run by foreign companies, followed by Havana (22 percent), the keys north of Villa Clara (16 percent) and Jardines del Rey (Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, with 15 percent).

Among the latest announcements is the decision by Meliá Hotels International to administer another eight hotels in Cuba, in addition to the incorporation of foreign groups into projects to build golf courses.

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