Friday, August 19, 2011

Monied Cubans Flock to Varadero Hotels

Monied Cubans Flock to Varadero Hotels
August 18, 2011
By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES, August 18 — Privileged Cubans are flocking in record
numbers this summer to Varadero Hotels reported the Ministry of Tourism
on Thursday.

While the average Cuban professional struggles to get by on less than US
$25 a month and many jobs barely pay $15, a new emerging class of
privileged includes those who receive funds and visits from relatives
abroad, principally the United States.

President Raul Castro is attempting to reform the economy to make it
more efficient with less subsidies and tourism is the key fast cash
producing area pegged for growth.

Cubans were forbidden from staying at hotels during the post '90s
tourism boom until 2008, when Castro lifted the "orientation" to keep
them out of such facilities.

The main target has been international tourism, however, on a quick
check at Varadero hotels recently over 20% of the guests were Cubans,
second to Canadians, noted Velio Barrera, the head of marketing and
public relations of the Ministry of Tourism in Matanzas province.

Varadero includes over a third of all Cuba's hotel facilities and is the
leading destination along with Havana.

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