Only 27% of Hotels in Cuba Occupied: Cause for Concern


Inflation, energy blackouts, the fuel crisis, cuts and delays in the basic basket are increasingly sinking the ailing Cuban economy, which has not been able to recover in the last three years with a poor private sector, without the muscle of tourism and less foreign investment.

The situation, Efe points out, was largely aggravated by the pandemic, the tightening of US sanctions and errors in economic and monetary policy.

“International tourism can improve and mean more foreign currency, but it is not enough to pull the Cuban economy out of the abyss,” says Mauricio de Miranda, professor at the Javeriana University of Cali (Colombia).

Until October, Cuba received 1.9 million tourists, far from the government goal of 3.5 million for 2023. Even more so, the nearly 5 million it achieved after the “thaw” with the United States.

As you have been publishing, REPORTUR.mxCancún and Punta Cana are the great destinations of the Caribbean in the face of a very vulnerable Cuban tourism sector with degraded infrastructure and deficient services (Tourism does not return to Cuba and its occupancy drops by 30%)

Foreign investment is not taking off either, despite the fact that the Executive knocks on the doors of allied countries and international companies that already operate in Cuba. The 2023 investment portfolio is virtually identical to last year.

The emerging private sector provides some light with the authorization of small businesses since 2021, after five decades of prohibition.

Currently there are more than 9,000, mostly restaurants and food stores. It is estimated that they will contribute more than 1 billion dollars of imports throughout 2023.

Tamarys Bahamonde, a doctoral candidate in Public Policy and Public Administration at the University of Delaware (USA), considers that the island’s tourism sector is “very vulnerable” due to regional competition – the crown jewels in the Caribbean are Cancún and Punta Cana – and the internal conditions of the country, with degraded infrastructure, poor services and limited access to supplies.

With hotel occupancy that stood at 27% in the first half, betting on tourism is “very risky,” says Bahamonde, who does not understand why large hotels continue to be built in the country.

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