21 Mar 2016
US hotel and leisure company giant, Starwood Hotels, have become the first US hotel company to agree to new deals surrounding an investment into properties on the island of Cuba. They are planning to renovate and run three hotels within Havana, the Cuban capital. One of these will be the Hotel Inglaterra which was opened in 1875. The move marks the first time a US hotel chain has been operational in Cuba for over fifty years
Alongside Starwood, Airbnb have also announced that they will be expanding their offerings to include properties in Cuba which will be “open to all visitors” from early April. Currently, the properties are only available to US visitors, due to restrictions. Airbnb launched in Cuba last year, and has 4,000 listings in the country already.
Marriott have also looked into expanding their business in Cuba, releasing a statement after US president Obama has eased travel restrictions, stating “We are gratified to receive permission from the US government to pursue business opportunities in Cuba. While there is still work to do before any agreement is reached, we are actively pursuing relationships in the hospitality sector.” Currently, US visa restrictions offer 12 valid reasons for travel to visitors with a US passport, though tourism is not yet allowed for US visitors.