Cuba has continued diversifying and expanding foreign participation in the tourism sector, particularly in the most expanded modality: hotel administration and marketing contracts with companies of renowned international prestige, some of which are previewing that the foreign part contributes the required resources to remodel existing installations and to introduce new brands.
Protected by 82 contracts, 19 international hotel chains are operating in Cuba 95 hotels, which concentrate 41,051 rooms – 97% of them with a four- and five-star category -, according to information of the Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR) at the close of January 2017. Thirteen joint ventures are included among the contracts referred to.
Out of these managements, 11 are of Spanish origin and represent 58% of the associations in the country: they manage 75 hotels, 79% of which operate under that modality. The remaining companies are from Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Portugal, Singapore and Switzerland.
On the Cuban side, Gaviota is the counterpart of 45% of the contracts; Gran Caribe, 31%; Cubanacán, 23%; and Islazul, 1%.
Distributed in the island’s principal tourist destinations, Varadero has 37% of the hotels administrated by foreign managements; Havana 22%; Cayos de Villa Clara 16%; Jardines del Rey (Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo), 15%; and the northern coast of Holguín 5%. In Cayo Largo del Sur, Jibacoa, Trinidad, Camagüey’s Santa Lucía beach, and Santiago de Cuba two hotels operate administrated by international managements.
Out of these installations under administration contracts, 76% respond to the sun and beach tourism modality, which has usually predominated during these years; and the remaining 24% offer the city product combined with cultural, historic and heritage tourism – compared to previous statistics, it is confirmed that foreign administration in city hotels has been growing, according to the approved sectorial policy.
The Business Opportunities Portfolio for Foreign Investment in Cuba’s Tourism Sector presents 110 projects that serve as the foundation to create new international economic associations or new hotel administration and marketing contracts, some of them with foreign financing.
Projected in favor of expanding the presence of recognized international chains in the management and marketing of hotels; to renovate the hotel room plant through restorations, expansions and new constructions, and to increase the number and the standards of rooms, especially in city hotels, the Portfolio is in turn directed at diversifying the tourist product, attracting high-standard markets and extending the non-hotel sector to the real estate development associated to golf courses, complements of totally Cuban marinas and high-tech theme parks.
More than 50% of those projects are already the object of interest by investors from several countries and are in the stage of preliminary negotiations between foreign and Cuban companies, especially those linked to the construction and renovation of hotels and to marinas.
MINTUR, according to its general director of development, José Daniel Alonso, is presently updating the portfolio for this year, which will have more than 150 projects, to build new installations as well as to remodel the existing ones.
Foreign management: Hotel Chains, Country Of Origin And Number of Rooms
Meliá Hotels International - Spain - 13,176
Blue Diamond Hotels & Resorts - Canada - 8,472
Iberostar Hotels & Resorts - Spain - 5,830
H10 Hoteles - Spain - 2,040
Blau Hotels & Resorts - Spain- 1,777
Warwick International Hotels and Resorts - France - 1,243
Valentín Hotels - Spain - 1,208
Sercotel Hoteles - Spain - 1,195
Roc Hotels - Spain - 1,022
Be Live Hotels – Globalia - Spain - 949
Barceló Hotels & Resorts - Spain - 883
Accor Hotels - France - 696
Banyan Tree - Singapore - 516
BlueBay Hotels & Resorts - Spain - 510
Pestana Hotels & Resorts - Portugal - 508
Elite Club Vacanze - Italy - 291
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide - United States - 269
Kempinski Hotels S.A. - Switzerland - 246
NH Hotels - Spain - 220