Havana reinvents itself as a modern tourist spot

Posted: 08-Nov-18 09:19

Cuban Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero Cruz has plans to reinvent Havana as an updated tourist destination. Taking advantage of Havana’s 500th-anniversary celebrations, the minister intends to invest in Havana’s infrastructure so it can welcome new visitors.

Havana reinvents itself as a modern tourist spot

As Havana’s 500th Anniversary approaches, Cuban Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero-Cruz announced that the government would invest in Cuba’s infrastructure to welcome tourists to the town of San Cristobal of Havana. In a statement to the weekly magazine Opciones, the minister claims that there are currently 5,000 new rooms in development, and plans to create 12 new accommodations by this time next year.

According to an article by eTurboNews, Marrero-Cruz intends for small and mid-sized buildings to be repurposed as tourist accommodation, particularly houses with heritage, such as Portales de Paseo. Other locations include the Siboney neighborhood, Miramar, as well as Blue Vedado in the Plaza de la Revolución. The program plans to have the Prado y Malecon Hotel, the Grand Hotel, and the Cueto all opening in Old Havana before November 2019.

At present, there are more than 12 thousand rooms in Havana, yet only half of them are categorized as three stars or above. That’s why Marrero-Cruz maintains that the new investments are aimed at creative competitive hotels for tourists, such as the Kempinski Manzana and the Iberostar Grand Packard.

Changing Havana’s image as a tourist destination is incredibly important now more than ever as the city comes close to celebrating such a big anniversary. Marrero-Cruz believes that the investment will be recovered when tourists flock to the island for the celebrations.

As well as new hotels, plans are also underway to restore and repair La Cecilia, El Floridita, La Bodeguita del Medio, El Gato Tuerto and the restaurant La Ferminia. The restaurant Don Cangrejo will be transformed into a high quality club. The beautiful eatery has a magnificent swimming pool next to the sea, but the restaurant is limited. Marrero-Cruz wants to see this change, as well as the reopening of the La Giraldilla recreational center to become a family and leisure spot.

Marrero-Cruz also hopes to restore the old Comodoro Hotel’s dance hall, which has been closed for many years. Plans are in place to refurbish Hacienda Guanabito in Guanabo – a total restoration project that will include a stable for customers to enjoy. There are also plans to transform shops such as Primera and B, in the Vedado, and the Palacio de Artesanía, in the Historic Center.

The minister stated that, overall, the Tourism Plan for Havana’s 500 Anniversary is comprised of around 40 different acts, from construction to complete restoration. As more than 50 percent of Cuba’s visitors arrive through the capital, Marrero-Cruz believes that Havana defines the image of tourism for Cuba, and must be ready to welcome increased numbers while competing as a world-class tourist destination.


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