Thursday, June 28, 2007

Waiting for more tourists

Reuters’ Marc Frank in Havana takes note of state media reports on tourism minister Manuel Marrero’s presentation to Cuba’s legislature. Marrero reiterated earlier announcements of new investments to improve and diversify Cuba’s tourism product. Reuters adds interesting context: new measures to prevent theft from luggage, an industry source saying that the Dominican Republic beats Cuba’s hotel and package prices by 20 percent and Mexico’s service is superior, and another noting Cuba’s under-investment in the sector. And this:

“The number of tourists dropped 7 percent in January and 13 percent in February compared with the same period in 2006, the Tourism Ministry reported, before ending publication of monthly figures for the first time in years.”

Cuba’s currency revaluation effectively acts as a tax on remittances, and presumably has increased government revenues. But it also seems to have had an ongoing impact on tourism, which is sensitive to price.

Photo: a peacock in the Hotel Nacional courtyard.

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