The growth in Cuban tourism

By | Category: Travel destinations
Cuban street

Cuba. Will it change as more tourists arrive.

Ever since the US began to normalise relations with Cuba, travel writers (ourselves included) have suggested you visit Cuba as soon as possible.

There are a couple of reasons behind that thinking. The first is that when Americans are able to holiday there, it being so close, there will be a massive increase in visitor numbers. How big that increase would be has never been forecasted but figures from the Cubans on the number of hotel rooms they plan to build have just been released as part of their National Plan for Economic and Social Development.

In the next fifteen years they plan to build an extra 108,000 rooms on top of what they already. That is on top of the  10,000 they have built in the last few years and the refurbishment of another 7,000.

They are obviously expecting a tourist boom.

Last year 3.5 million visited the country. By 2030 it looks as though they are planning on that figure at least trebling.

The qualms that people who know Cuba have is that all this development will alter the Cuba that they are used to and enjoy. How many of the existing small hotels will be supplanted by huge hotels built by international corporations that will deliver an anonymity and “beigeness” that you see elsewhere in the world. Walk into any big branded hotel in one place and the bedspreads will be the same thousands of miles away in one of their other hotels. Cuban restaurants in their hotels will become adapted to client perceptions rather than presenting typical Cuban cooking.

Cuban restaurants around the Havana, the towns and tourist haunts might alter the menus to present a more “international” menu.

Will some of the small villages change their identity as more tourists flock to the country? Only time will tell. What travel agents and tour operators call “authentic Cuba” may become a thing of the past. What could emerge is “internationalised Cuba.”

These are the reasons travel people are saying go now.

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