The changing landscape of hotels in Cuba
by Larry Berle
The hotel scene in Cuba has a dismal history,but that is about to change.
Both Starwood and Marriott are in negotiations to run, develop or at least manage several hotels on the island. Not only that, but booking.com, the hotel reservation service, recently reached an agreement with several Cuban hotels to begin booking with them. Who knows what else is in the works.
Cuba had a 25% increase in tourism visitors last year and with new rules making it much easier for Americans to travel to Cuba without organized groups and airlines flying scheduled service between Havana and the U.S., The demand is out stripping the hotel supply in Cuba. and who knows what the demand will be next year. This has been eased somewhat since airbnb.com was allowed to operate in Cuba and thousands of Cubans have now opened their homes to tourists. I don't know what the financial arrangements are between the Cuban government and those private homes that are now listing on airbnb.com but its got to be a financial boom for those who participate. It looks like private enterprise is creeping its way into the Cuban economy.
Ultimately, if you are planning to visit Cuba make your hotel reservations early. And hope you get a decent place to stay.