Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Cuban private business finally in Yellow Pages

By: Portia Siegelbaum

(CBS News) HAVANA — As Cuba restructures its economy, the limited

private sector is claiming more public space, even making it into the

new edition of the state-owned phone company's Yellow Pages.

It's a sign that private enterprise is here to stay. This phone

directory, for the first time, has 12 pages of listings and

advertisements for non-state businesses: From bed and breakfasts,

restaurants and photo studios, to party planners, electricians and florists.

For $10, small mom & pop companies get a listing with their company

name, address and phone number. But well-established enterprises such as

the "Monte Barreto Bar–Restaurant" paid bigger bucks — about $1,300 —

and took full page color ads. La Guarida, a private restaurant popular

with tourists, took a half-page ad at a cost of approximately $800. But

there are also large ads for beauty salons and gyms, and photo studios

specializing in weddings and other social events.

Cubans wanting granite stairs, tiles, floors or countertops will focus

in on an ad by Yovany, who offers free delivery.

There's a listing for a pet hotel and three listings for swimming pool

rentals, and even more for those offering rural settings with amenities

for weddings and birthday parties.

In a country where billboard advertising is non-existent, the

possibility of marketing in the Yellow Pages is a boom to Cuba's new

private entrepreneurs. And it also represents revenues for the State.

In the absence of other advertising possibilities some private

restaurants have been sending text messages or e-mails. A fairly new

Indian restaurant, Bollywood, is one of the most persistent text

senders. La Casa, whose owner Alejandro Robaina missed the deadline to

place an ad in the Yellow Pages, sent out an e-mail earlier this week

announcing the return of their former chef after ten years working

cruise ships in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean and touting a newly

designed menu.

But given the generally limited access to the Internet and the low

percentage of cell phone subscribers, most Cubans will, for the time

being, be getting their information on what's on offer from their phone

books, given free to them when they paid their May phone bills.

Most observers agree that, for private businesses, access to the Yellow

Pages is a step forward and they expect that in the future many more

people will chose to advertise.

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