Cuba aims to attract foreign investors with updated hotel and theme park plan

Hotel Inglaterra in the Cuban capital will be under Starwood's management this year.

Cuba's Tourism Ministry has proposed plans to construct about 140 new tourism projects to attract foreign investors in the tourism sector. According to XinhuaNet, Cuba's updated investment portfolio includes many non-hotel investments, including water parks and theme parks, along with projects to increase the country's hotel stock. The government will debut the updated portfolio at the 2017 Havana International Fair in November.

Within the government's tourism development plan, 224 new hotels will be constructed while 32 existing hotels will be expanded by 2030. The additions will increase the island's total number of hotel rooms from 67,000 to 103,000. New hotel projects are included in the investment plan for Vinales, a valley about 109 miles west of Havana, and Trinidad, a colonial town about 196 miles southeast of the capital. In Havana, Sofitel will open a hotel at the intersection of two promenades—the Paseo del Prado and the Malecon—while Starwood will manage two more properties, including the Hotel Inglaterra, Cuba Trade Magazine reported.

Other investments include new golf courses independent of hotel and real estate development. Two golf courses will be constructed in the Varadero resort and in the eastern province of Holguin. Thailand’s Centara Hotels & Resorts has planned to construct three projects, including a 250-guestroom resort on Cayo Guillermo scheduled to open this year. Banyan Tree has planned to open three beachfront hotels of its own in 2019. 

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Tourism to Cuba increased by 14.5 percent in 2016, compared to the previous year. The boost is attributed to the restoration of ties between the U.S. and Cuba during former President Obama's administration. Cuban officials hope the number of visitors will reach 4.2 million this year.

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