Quinceanera celebrations bring big business to Cuba

Posted: 13-Feb-16 11:27

With new travel options opening up between the United States and Cuba, new opportunities are also opening for local businesses in the Latin American country to expand. Traditional quinceanera celebrations are encouraging the growth of event planning in the nation, from photography to stylish parties.

Quinceanera celebrations bring big business to Cuba

Once off limits to American travelers, the new ease of restrictions between the United States and Cuba has translated into a real boost for certain segments of the island nation’s economy. The quinceanera is traditionally a big milestone for young Latin American girls and Cuban businesses are seeing the benefits of relaxed travel standards when it comes to everything from photography to event planning.

Specifically, though, the celebrated event has led to an increase in the number of new photography businesses that profit from helping to document important events, like the 15th birthday. Families in the United States are sharing the names of photographers in Cuba with other families that have young girls quickly approaching this important milestone. While the quinceanera is a popular celebration in Latin American culture, capturing the moment with photography is the main focus in Cuba.

At one particular location, Marbella Studios outside of Havana, 12 stylists, photographers and videographers work to capture the moment. Young women have their choice of more than 500 outfits and the calendar quickly fills with new appointments. According to the owner, about 60 percent of her clients come to Cuba from outside the country. The most popular months for quinceanera photography are July and December.

As well, other studios are expanding the options for young girls with everything from traditional tiaras and poufy gowns to miniskirts and even bikinis. Typically, quinceanera photography packages start at $150 in Cuba, including multiple clothing options, plus makeup and hairstylists. This is usually considerably less than what’s charged for similar services in the United States.

Not only is the rise in popularity for tourists helping to fuel the economy, but it is also helping local girls raise the funds for their own quinceanera celebrations. Along with photography, the rise of travellers has helped fuel the need for transportation, plus event halls, as travelers from countries such as the United States expand the celebration to include family and friends living in Cuba.

According to one father of a young girl who traveled to Cuba for pictures at the beach, then planned a return trip for a party at one of Havana’s seaside hotels later. He explained:

“Cuba is in vogue. Everyone wants to come do their party here”.


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