Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) presented on Tuesday the Portfolio of Opportunities for business and foreign investment in that sector, which seeks to boost the so-called Leisure Industry in the Caribbean island.
“There is growing interest from foreign companies to invest in our country and especially in our sector,” said Mintur Business Director Suyen Rivero when presenting the portfolio on the second day of the International Tourism Fair (FITCuba 2023).
Rivero pointed out that tourism is a strategic sector for the Cuban Government, making it a safe source of business with foreign capital.
That portfolio includes 87 projects, 32 under the modality of joint ventures and 55 with International Economic Association contracts, including 41 to market and manages hotels, 11 for the administration of services, and three with a common fund.
There are 18 foreign hotel chains working on the island, including Blue Diamond, Iberostar, and Meliá, and according to Rivero, others should be added before the end of the year.
Tourism, the island’s second source of foreign currency after the export of medical services, almost collapsed due to the combined effect of the new coronavirus pandemic and the tightening of the blockade that the United States has been applying against Cuba for more than half a century.
In 2022, the arrival of vacationers was 1.7 million, below the 2.5 million expected.
For 2023, the Government expects a more dynamic recovery of the sector, which should receive some 3.5 million tourists, a figure closer to the four million reached in 2019.
The head of MINTUR himself, Juan Carlos García, acknowledged Tuesday that the recovery has been difficult due to the contraction of the European market and the measures implemented by Washington.
“Canada, our main market, has recovered 80 percent, but we cannot say the same about European countries,” García told the press during a tour of the Morro-Cabaña Park, two colonial fortresses located on the east bank of Havana Bay and converted into a fairground.
Cuba has several cities with over 500 years of history. Nine sites were declared World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which can become unique tourist attractions.