Tourism in Cuba: The key to unlocking its economic potential

Tourism in Cuba: The key to unlocking its economic potential


Today tourism is booming in Cuba. Following the us-cuba reproachment in December 2014, relaxed restrictions on U.S. travel resulted in a rising wave of U.S. visitors. The number of us visitors rose rapidly from 91,000 in 2014, to 162,000 2015, to a projected 300,000 in 2016. In addition cuban-american visitors, under relaxed U.S. travel rules, reached 300,000 in 2015. Number of foreign visitors could rise from three-and-a-half-million in 2015 to over 10 million in 2030 and that does not include an additional five million in cruise passengers. This tourism could generate over 10 billion dollars in foreign exchange revenues as compared to about 3 billion today and twice the amount currently being generated by all of the islands merchandise exports. From Old Havana, which bounds with marvelous colonial squares, surrounded by architectural gems, to endless stretches of beaches, Ecological Reserves, and coral reefs, tourism is the only economic sector in Cuba ready to generate such large returns. New arrivals benefit from the dynamic new private sector in Cuba’s tourism area. Bnb’s have grown from low levels in 2010 to at least 16,000 available rooms in bed and breakfast’s, roughly one-quarter of Cuba’s available accommodations. Airbnb began operations on the island in 2015, the number of listings has risen rapidly to 4,000 today. Adding in the private restaurants, taxis, and artisan shops, almost one-third of tourism dollars goes to the emerging private sector in cuba. Cuba will need about thirty three billion dollars in new capital spending over the next 15 years to achieve the government’s objective of tripling the number of international quality rooms by 2030. Realizing Cuba’s objective of 10 million tourists is quite feasible but only if the Cuban government adopts new policies to replace those that are now shackling growth. The U.S. can help by lifting restrictions impeding U.S. travel and financial transactions along with offering technical assistance to promote environmental sustainability if requested by the Cuban government and ultimately allowing U.S. hotel chains to do business in Cuba.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *