Cuba is changing and all eyes are on its capital: Havana. As trade embargos are beginning to be lifted, American architects, businessmen, and global hotel chains are poised to transform the island into a money-making enterprise, which is concerning for most Cubans.
Already Carnival Cruise Line is planning themed cruises to Cuba, a destination that has not allowed travellers from the USA for decades. The question is: Is Cuba ready for this sudden influx of investment from North America, a country that restricted its trade for over 50 years? If you want to see Cuba as we know it, it is time to book your villa with private pool in Cuba now, before the American classic cars begin to be replaced with Chevrolets, Buicks, and new American money.
There are many questions relating to this subject, to which we don’t yet know the answer. Is Havana, and indeed Cuba as a whole, ready to embrace the foreign investors? How will the changes effect the locals who have practically lived in an island bubble since the 1960s?
What will happen to the Cuban property market? Will foreign investors be able to purchase property in the country from Cuban families, or will the current rule of “foreigners can only sell to foreigners” (unless related to Cuban nationals) remain?
It’s easy to see how investment into the country will benefit the island, with talks of a $900-million port 30 miles from Havana, upscale art galleries located in redundant power stations, and technology centres to be housed in old refineries – you could argue that all of these developments will create jobs and boost the economy. But what happens to the very core of Cuba? Will its tobacco industry, the rum manufacturing, and its tropical rainforests and UNESCO world heritage sites be affected? Will they continue as usual or will the land be taken and used for development?
It’s an important time for the Cuban people, and indeed the Cuban government. They need to look at their future with prudence and logic, only allowing investment which is going to benefit them on their own terms and not to the detriment of the people of Cuba.
Changing times are afoot, so book your Cuba accommodation now before the old town of Havana and ornate buildings of the malecon are replaced glossy shopping complexes and hotel chains.
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