What Will Big Time US Tourism Mean for Cuba?

Turismo-americano-antel-del-59HAVANA TIMES — One of the concerns some people have with the new relations between the US and Cuba is the possibility of large scale US tourism to the island. What would that mean?

Will increased economic activity make the island a more attractive place for Cubans?

Here’s a picture of how Cuba was advertised in the pre-revolution days.

8 thoughts on “What Will Big Time US Tourism Mean for Cuba?

  • Just statistics:
    Canadians represented 45% of tourists
    Canada has a population of 35 million
    The US has a population of 330 million
    Only 17% of US citizens have ever had a passport – would more than half of them go to visit Cuba?

  • Only time will tell if my conclusion is accurate. Your Cancun point is irrelevant as, from the moment it developed, the ENTIRE world had access. If I recall correctly, the figures for this past year showed that Canadians were over 40 % of the tourists to Cuba, coming from a 30 million population.
    The U.S. has 300 million people – if only 10% of them are chomping at the bit to visit the forbidden fruit, just to experience it, they will fill the bedrooms for an entire year.
    Over the 20 years that I have averaged 5 months a year living in a Cuban city, I know that Cuba grabs as much as the market can bear- they are going to jack the prices as soon as the Americans are allowed in – the law and the prices change daily, whenever officials see an opportunity for a moneygrab – When someone asks me the Cuban rules, I always conclude with – that is the way today but tomorrow can be vastly different – I could write a book to illustrate this point.

  • Sex sells in Cuba currently, from the high end at Tropicana to the low end in the backstreets of Old Havana.
    Three years ago I was shown at a secondary school in Cuba CD’s of three intended GolfHotel complexes to be built in Western Cuba just north of the Guanahabibes Peninsula. (NONE OF WHICH HAS COME TO FRUITION)The declared purpose was to attract “rich” tourists. I pointed out that there were no nearby towns to provide interest in the evenings and that “rich” tourists are not satisfied with having an MC to create fun in the evenings and in consequence Casinos would be necessary. However as you will know, casinos are anathema to the Castro family regime which carefully built up an image over 56 years of them being dens of iniquity operated by the US Mafia. I explained that for example in Alberta, Canada the casinos are controlled by the Provincial Government and that charities and sports organizations supply some staffing, being rewarded by substantial grants.
    In June 2015, Marino Murillo the Minister of Economics told the meeting of “Parliament” that Cubans should not expect any increase in income.
    Cuba should not in its own interests gravitate to a US Dollar economy but introduce its own legal tender to float on the free market.
    The last thing that Cuba needs is to have the US again dominate the lives of its citizens.
    Gaviota has announced its intention to build a further 14,000 hotel bedrooms in the 2015-17 period.
    I understand your Utopian thinking, but we are discussing the reality of Cuba and of the regime that holds power and control over it.

  • For Western Canadians Cancun is the cheap and main destination, for Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, Cuba is cheaper. There is nothing to indicate that US current access to Cancun has increased the prices. The obvious reason for the differences is that of direct flights. For example if Western Canadians use SunWing they have first to fly to Toronto by WestJet or Air Canada. Only Transat offer direct flights from Edmonton to Cuba. Another factor is the intention of Gaviota (military owned) to build another 14,000 hotel bedrooms in the 2015-2017 period. This to add to the total current figure for Cuba of 52,000.

  • Immediate effect will be U.S. tourists filling the small number of resorts and those from other countries, will stop visiting because the price will increase drastically (supply and demand) Canadians have been the main source for years but that is because Cuban prices were lower than ALL other warm destinations available to us. Once the prices go up, we will look at other destinations.

  • Any advertising person will ask what is it that Cuba wants tourists to think about when planning a trip to Cuba. During Pre-Revolution days it was sex, gambling and the beaches. Sex appears to be on the mind of the tourist pictured above. Sex sells, but not in Cuba. Fortunately, there are lots of other things that can attract tourists. There are still the beautiful beaches and the beautiful architecture of many renovated historical buildings, the people, the cars, the food, the music and the gorgeous landscape, flora and fauna. Increased economic activity will make the island a more attractive place for Cubans, but the effect will be higher prices (supply & demand) for everyone. Capitalism must be allowed to thrive for labor rates to increase so that more Cubans may reap the benefits. More hotels need to be built and government-controlled gambling should be considered. Ask the Mexicans. They seem to be reaping the benefits. The worst part about Mexico’s economy is the disparity of incomes. That will be hard to do in Cuba due to limited cash reserves. The government needs to increase salaries quickly and provide incentives for people to go into agriculture to grow more food and rely less on food imports. Internet service and availability has to be greatly improved. Americans cannot go long without their Internet. Monetary policy is the one bitter pill most Cubans will need to swallow. Eliminate the CUC and gravitate to a US Dollar economy.The building trade is another huge area to be developed and one that has a great potential to help more Cubans increase their incomes. There’s lots to do! Welcome to the 21st century!

  • Real estate prices are already too high for the locals, so no worries. Buildings are already collapsing faster than the Castros want to admit so there is plenty of space for new construction. Again, no worries. Finally, the most successful and popular Cuban artists, celebrities and athletes live abroad (or like Silvio Rodríguez, maintain residences abroad) so there is no reason to worry about foreign influence on Cuban culture. It is already happening. So, you see, nothing to worry about.

  • Answer to this question depends how far is the Cuban government willing to go , historically tourist have influenced many changes .
    In certain places the prices of Real- Estate became too expensive for the local inhabitants.
    On another perspective local property text what up to the point where local inhabitants where text out of there homes, homes they lived in for generations .
    In other places local governments wanted tourists to have a feeling of what they are use to at home , certain businesses where allowed in, resulting in undermine local culture.
    Pressure to accommodate tourists mint destruction of culture heritage, buildings that should have been preserved as cultural heritage where destroyed to allow for new constructions .
    To accommodate certain types of construction new material would be brought into the country , material that most likely waste management will not be able to handle .and the environment will indirectly suffer .
    Society needs to have honest discussion on change, and ask how far are they willing to go .
    Can the Cudan rules and regulations keep up with the change that going to take place in society ?
    I do not know what kind of laws do exist in Cuba, I hope they have cultural preservation laws that would protect nature and their cultural heritage in which certain landmarks wall be left alone as is .

    A small example on what would happen as a result of tourist accommodition. the introduction of fast food and frutos based soft drinks which is causing an epidemic of diabetes in US society.

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