Published on : Thursday, May 11, 2017
The report, drawn up by the Boston Consulting Group, notes that Cuba represents a “huge” but challenging opportunity for US cruise, airline and hotel companies as American visitors continue to spiral. The BCG study shows as many as two million Americans could visit in the future, which was 285,000 last year, excluding the Cuban Americans.
Given tourism infrastructure is already creaking, that means there are business opportunities aplenty but US companies must learn to navigate a centrally planned economy with its quirks.
Although in very low levels, Cuba has been more US travellers this year than the past two years. The report read “The reality is that U.S. travel to Cuba is in its nascent stages, and all the players are still learning how to make it work. Success, as with most things Cuban, will require unusual – and often unorthodox – approaches”.
The report has not said anything about the uncertainty cast by the election of US President Donald Trump who has threatened to row back on the normalisation of relations.
The Cuban government is planning to double its hotel capacity by 2030; mainly through the foreign companies’ partnership. So far, Starwood is the only US hotel company operating in Cuba.
BCG continued saying that there is scope to expand the cruise lines to Cuba. In fact, nearly two thirds of 500 US travellers surveyed would consider one to Cuba. BCG noted that the US cruise operators who have started offering lines to Cuba had to deal with different challenges including a cultural element to their trips to comply with US government rules on travel to Cuba. It remains at the disposition of the US companies to work this out with the Cuban government to resolve some of these issues.