Cuba to build 30 hotels
Wednesday, March 19, 2008; Posted: 02:46 PM
The Cuban government said Wednesday it planned to build 30 new hotels
between 2008 and 2010 with the aim of increasing the number of rooms
available to international tourists from 46,000 to 56,000.
The hotels will be built through joint ventures involving the Cuban
government and foreign companies, mainly from China and Spain, according
to an article that appears on the Tourism Ministry's Web site.
An official with that portfolio was quoted in the article as saying that
other hotel projects currently are in the negotiation phase.
Ten of the new hotels will be in Havana and will be located in the
Marina Hemingway and Monte Barreto districts, the city's historical
center and Tarara beach, where a complex will be built that will include
apartments for rent, a marina and a hotel.
The Cuban capital is the main destination for foreign tourists to the
communist-ruled island and, together with the nearby Varadero resort,
also on the northern coast, generates 70 percent of the nation's tourism
Havana currently has more than 12,000 rooms distributed among 62 hotels
run by the Cubanacan, Gran Caribe, Islazul, Gaviota and Habaguanex chains.
Tourism is one of the main motors of the Cuban economy but growth in
that industry has stalled in recent years.
Cuba received just over 2 million international visitors in 2007,
earning close to $2 billion in tourism revenue.
In recent months, there has been increased speculation that the new
Cuban president, Raul Castro, plans to eliminate the prohibition on
Cubans lodging at tourist hotels, although tourism authorities consulted
by Efe said there has been no official determination in this regard.
The 76-year-old Raul Castro, who on Feb. 24 succeeded his older brother
Fidel, Cuba's leader for almost 50 years, has promised to reduce the
excessive amount of prohibitions on the island and carry out economic
and administrative reforms. EFE