China and Cuba sign deal to build brand new golf course and resort

Posted: 09-May-15 12:45

A brand new 18-hole golf course and resort will be built in Cuba, with the help of Chinese conglomerate Beijing Enterprise Group. Both parties signed an official letter of intent at the recent International Tourism Fair held recently in popular resort Jardines del Rey. It will be the second 18-hole course on the island - and with the island's fortunes slowly turning thanks to the US, there could be more of its kind on the way.

China and Cuba sign deal to build brand new golf course and resort

The Communist government of Cuba and the Chinese Beijing Enterprise Group have signed a deal to build a brand new golf course and resort. The news was announced at the end of the recent International Tourism Fair held in the picturesque Jardines del Rey, where Cuba and China both signed a letter of intent to build the new course.

According to newspaper Juventud Rebelde the green light was given when the letter of intent was signed by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Tuo, and Wang Dong, chairman of the Beijing Enterprises Group, and Jose Reinaldo Daniel, business director for Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Relations.

This new course would only be the second in Cuba; the island already has just one 18-hole golf course - the 6,269-metre Varadero Golf Club on Varadero Beach. There were previously two nine-hole courses in the country.

Regarded as a beautiful and challenging course thanks to its location and the local climate, just the idea of a golf club is a leftover from the days of the Revolution, when the government considered golfing a bourgeois sport and let all but two the other 9-hole clubs fall into disrepair.

Completed in 1998, the Varadero Golf Club replaced one of those smaller facilities, and is now one of Cuba's top attractions. It was designed by Canadian Les Furber, and its clubhouse is the beautiful 1930s Xanadu Mansion.

Cuba had only become interested in golf in the 1990s, seeing it as a way to boost its coffers through the tourism industry. Now that the US is making moves to normalise relations between the two countries, there's everything to play for from a tourism perspective. Cuba has seen a 15% upsurge in visitors - 1.14 million visited - in the first three months of 2015 alone. Around half were Canadian, but the numbers of Americans is expected to rise even more than it has recently.

Although previous efforts to get multiple 18-hole courses built have come to nothing, there's hope that this new project will help put future ventures into motion.

The as yet-unnamed new golf course and resort is likely to be located on Cuba's northern coast in Bello Monte, between the ever-popular Varadero beach resort and the capital city of Havana.


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