By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, August 18 — Privileged Cubans are flocking in record numbers this summer to Varadero Hotels reported the Ministry of Tourism on Thursday.
While the average Cuban professional struggles to get by on less than US $25 a month and many jobs barely pay $15, a new emerging class of privileged includes those who receive funds and visits from relatives abroad, principally the United States.
President Raul Castro is attempting to reform the economy to make it more efficient with less subsidies and tourism is the key fast cash producing area pegged for growth.
Cubans were forbidden from staying at hotels during the post ‘90s tourism boom until 2008, when Castro lifted the “orientation” to keep them out of such facilities.
The main target has been international tourism, however, on a quick check at Varadero hotels recently over 20% of the guests were Cubans, second to Canadians, noted Velio Barrera, the head of marketing and public relations of the Ministry of Tourism in Matanzas province.
Varadero includes over a third of all Cuba’s hotel facilities and is the leading destination along with Havana.