The Cuba Tourist Board has announced a comprehensive blueprint for infrastructure growth and development extending from 2018 to 2030. The plan comes in response to growing demand for the destination – last year it welcomed 4.7 million tourists (over a million from Canada alone), an increase of 16.2% over the previous year.
With a focus on the development of accommodations, Cuba had an annual hotel infrastructure growth rate of 10% in 2017, with collaborative efforts between the government and international developers leading to the addition of over 2,500 hotel rooms. This growth rate is expected to increase further, with projections set for 103,000 new rooms, and at least eight new hotels, by 2030. The Hotel Varadero Internacional, the Prado y Malecón, and the Packard Hotel in Havana are all on track to open by 2019.
This renewed focus on accommodation capacity is matched by a commitment to invest in infrastructure and attractions in the broader tourism industry. Cuba is on pace to add 23 nautical stations and marinas, 24 golf courses, and 47 entertainment facilities over the next 12 years. These developments are intended to round out the country’s existing natural attractions, which include 10 world heritage sites, 14 national parks, and hundreds of national monuments.
Securing foreign investment is key to the successful realization of Cuba’s goals in the sector. To this end, tourism authorities in Cuba have announced 87 management and development contracts with 19 international companies. These agreements will channel most of the investment from abroad into hotel rooms and theme parks, while domestic investment is funneled toward high-priority regions and provinces, including Havana, Cienfuegos, Camaguey, Las Tunas and Holguin.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.