U.S. Hotel Developers Don’t Expect a Quick Entry into Cuba

Real Estate Channel — American hotel developers today are eye-balling the announced $75 million deal oil-rich Qatar has signed with Cuba, but that’s about all they can do at this time, they say.

A 50-year-old travel ban to Cuba the U.S. placed 50 years ago would first have to be lifted by the Obama Administration before any serious development plans could be undertaken, U.S. developers and marketers say.

At the same time, Cuba President Raul Castro would also have to approve travel by U.S. tourists to his country.

Even if those hurdles are met, some U.S. developers would still balk at doing business with a communist regime.

“I won’t enter into discussions with other companies that want to invest or develop there,” says Burt Cabanas, president and CEO of 25-year-old Benchmark Hospitality International based in Woodlands, TX.

Cabanas told John Walsh, acontributing writer for HotelNewsNow.com, “I won’t operate in Cuba until my family, mother and godmother, is OK with that.”

He predicts the Cuban government will move slower than its U.S. counterparts in opening the country to new hotel development because it fears the 1.5 million Cubans residing in the U.S. will relocate to Cuba and seize the land Fidel Castro took from them 50 years ago.

Cabanas says investors from Ireland and Japan already have contacted him to act as a front for developing luxury resorts in and around Cuba but he has declined the offers.

Other U.S. hotel groups, however, are not that adamant in refusing to do deals with the Castros.

For example, Interncontinental Hotels Group of Denham, United Kingdom and Marriott International of Washington, DC, have been monitoring development opportunities in Cuba for some time.

Scott Smith, senior vice president of PKF Consulting in Atlanta, notes the current cost of construction and labor for new hotel development in Cuba is inexpensive, which would appeal to American developers.

Still, says Allison Fogarty, director at Pinnacle Hotel Group in North Little Rock, AK, “meaningful development (by Americans)  in the luxury segment in Cuba is still a long way off.”

Agreeing with that assessment is Enrique De Marchena Kaluche, president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association.

He says the new travel rules between the U.S. and Cuba remain unclear.  “How long will it take before we see democracy in Cuba?” he asks.  “In some people’s minds, it is a matter of snapping their fingers, but in reality, it will take at least 10 years.”

However, Sumner Baye, president, partner and a longtime leisure industry consultant at New York City-based International Hotel Network, thinks it could be much sooner.

“Everyone is waiting to see what happens,” he told John Walsh of HotelNewsNow.com.  “It’s too early to tell.”

He pinpoints Veradaro Beach in Cuba as a potential prime new hotel site.

www.cubaluxury.travel – Luxury hotels and condos in Cuba

About Particular Cuba
Particular Cuba organizes travel to Cuba. Hotel booking, car rental, package tours, excursions, flights to Cuba.

2 Responses to U.S. Hotel Developers Don’t Expect a Quick Entry into Cuba

  1. Pingback: U.S. Hotel Developers Don’t Expect a Quick Entry into Cuba · Invest-In-Real-Estate.ExplainedOnline.Net

  2. Kelly says:

    While it would be nice to have access to a new island, I much prefer the safety that Sandos Caracol Eco-Resort & Spa can provide me with.

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