Marriot President can't wait to get business started in Cuba

Posted: 29-Jul-15 13:50

Business in Cuba is ready to go according to Arne M. Sorenson, President and CEO at Marriott International. The hotel chain sees a bright future in the island and hopes to invest, once the travel bans for Americans are fully lifted.

Marriot President can't wait to get business started in Cuba

After his first visit to the island, the President and CEO at Marriot International, Arne M Sorenson is persuaded that business relations between Cuba and the US are possible and he now holds high hopes for the future. During his sojourn in the Caribbean nation, Sorenson spoke to government officials, business leaders and ordinary citizens to find that the general opinion is favorable to re-establishing ties.

Cubans are eager to work for the future

Contrary to what many may have thought due to the hostile history between the two countries, the CEO of Marriot International was able to corroborate that most Cuban citizens admitted their love for the American people and their culture and expressed their desire to leave the past behind. Businessmen were also keen to re-engage with the US, seeing infinite opportunities that would benefit the nation's economy.

America falls behind in the race to do business with Cuba

Although Marriot International is ready to go, US Congress hasn't yet legalized business relations with the island, leaving not only this company, but also many other American businesses, behind in the race to invest in the island. As President Obama takes steps to remove restrictions and re-engage with Cuba but still faces harsh opposition in Congress by a handful of Republicans when it comes to completely lifting the embargo, numerous companies from other parts of the globe rush to close deals in the Caribbean nation, in order to leave Americans as little room as possible.

This phenomenon is largely reflected in the travel industry. Seeing that tourism is currently thriving and growing in Cuba, many projects for new hotels are already being carried out by multiple European and Latin American hotel chains before they have to compete with US franchises like Marriot International.

According to Sorenson, the legalization of business transactions between the two countries is imminent and will contribute to stronger and more harmonious relationships:

"By engaging in business in Cuba, we will contribute to stronger and increasingly constructive relationships between Cuba and the U.S. as a result of two very basic things: first, our hotels will employ hundreds, if not thousands, of Cubans (...); second, we will be able to welcome tens of thousands of American visitors to Cuba who will eventually return home with memories, friendships and opportunities that draw us together."

Changes will come faster

Travel predictions estimate that the number of American visitors to the island will double this year, even before the general travel ban is lifted, which shows the overall enthusiasm of the US people to re-engage with Cuba. However, many American politicians are still reluctant to fully re-establishing ties until its form of government changes.

Sorenson believes that in order for progress to occur, barriers must be let down, one by one, and strongly feels that:

"… change in Cuba will come faster through engagement than through a continuation of the old rules."

As soon as the prohibitions are eliminated, Marriot International looks forward to establishing business relations with Cuba that are based on mutual trust and respect and that will contribute to a harmonious and bright future between both nations.


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