Cuba’s tourism industry forges new links with foreign companies

Posted: 16-May-17 09:25

Las week, during the celebration of FitCuba 2017, Cuba showcased its best tourism assets to the world and formed new commercial ties with foreign companies for the management of hotels and the development of golf courses. As a result, several contracts were signed between the island and hoteliers such as Spanish hotel chains Melia and Iberostar, while a letter of intent was signed between Cubagolf and German and Chinese companies for the development of new golf complexes across the country.

Cuba’s tourism industry forges new links with foreign companies

FitCuba 2017 ended on a high note and on very fruitful terms as Cuba managed to sign off several contracts with foreign firms for the management and hotels as well as for the development of new golf resorts.

Celebrated in the small eastern town of Gibara, Holguin, Cuba’s International Tourism Fair drew crowds of interested investors in the island’s tourism industry, mostly in the form of keen hotel chains that are already well-established in the island and looking to expand.

Such was the case of Spanish hotelier Iberostar, who signed a contract to manage three new hotel properties in Gibara, while announcing the imminent opening of a new luxury resort in Guardalavaca.

Likewise, yet another Spanish hotel chain with a solid presence in the island, Melia Hotels International, signed several contracts with Cuban counterparts, Cubanacan and Islazul for the management of more hotels. And it didn’t stop there, as it also signed contracts for the building of eight new hotels in the central cities of Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Camaguey, with construction works starting as soon as next year.

Melia’s move to build more new hotels in Cuba will add a total of 932 rooms to the island’s hospitality sector, and they can’t come soon enough as the island struggles with capacity to accommodate a growing number of visitors from all latitudes, with a marked increase in the arrival U.S. travellers ever since Obama introduced legislation to ease the rules on travel to Cuba.

Speaking about Melia’s bold move to build eight hotels in Cuba, the hotel chain’s president, Gabriel Escarrer, said:

“These eight new hotels entail an important challenge that we’re taking on with great enthusiasm and we made the promise of guaranteeing the Melia service throughout Cuba.”

On the other hand, Cubagolf S.A., the company created by the government to expand on the number of golf courses throughout the island (there’s only one championship golf course in Cuba at present) signed a letter of intent with German and Chinese companies for the building of tourist complexes adjacent to golf courses throughout the country.

To that end, a joint venture between German company CON-IMPEX Touristik and Cubagolf is also being set ups. Such an union would oversee the development of a new tourist resort complex in Punta Gorda, on the island’s south-western province of Cienfuegos.

Similarly, Cubagolf struck a deal with Chinese business group Yantai Golden Mountain for the development of a real-estate project adjacent to golf courses in Loma Linda, Guardavalaca, on the western province of Holguin.

The icing on the cake was the signing of yet another golf contract with La Playa Golf Resort International Pamana S.A. for the construction of a golf resort complex in Punta Colorada, on Cuba’s westernmost province of Pinar del Rio.

It looks like Cuba’s ambitions for world-class golf resorts are finally getting a kick-start after years of silenced hiatus. Already under way is the construction of the brand new Carbonera Golf Club in Matanzas, which, as I explained on an earlier blog about Cuba’s new golf courses, broke ground at the end of 2016. Its first phase is expected to be ready by 2020 with the completion of 200 residences and a luxury hotel.

Dubbed to become the first luxury golf resort of its kind in Cuba, we can hardly wait to see the results, but there’s still quite a few years left before Cuba starts becoming the world-class golfing destination it aims to be. We’ll keep you posted! 

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