Havana Cuba Business Travel Culture and Politics

Havana Cuba News

Cuba Business News

Posted October 15, 2004 by publisher in Business In Cuba

Email this article | Print this article | Search Havana Journal        

By Marc Frank | Reuters

Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bars in Havana are under new management in a drive by Cuba’s Communist government to increase control over its main cash cow, the tourist trade.

The Tourism Ministry has directly taken over restaurants and other night-life spots, including Havana’s famed Tropicana cabaret, that had been managed autonomously by state-run hotel groups, industry sources said on Tuesday.

The move is part of a massive shake-up of Cuba’s tourism companies aimed at wiping out middle-management corruption and maximizing income from the $2 billion-a-year tourist trade for President Fidel Castro’s financially strapped government.

“The Tourism Ministry is stripping hotel groups of their extra-hotel businesses and centralizing them under its own direction,” said a Havana tourism official, who asked his name not be used.

This follows centralization of retail stores and transport and car rental services, and the restructuring and merger of hotel groups begun in March.

The changes are part of the government’s move to reverse modest market-oriented reforms adopted after the collapse of the Soviet Union plunged Cuba into economic disarray more than a decade ago, forcing it to open up to tourism and foreign investment.

Under the reorganization, to be completed by November before the peak tourism season begins, various companies, including the ministry’s extra-hotel group Rumbos, will be merged.

The Gran Caribe hotel group was stripped of the Floridita and Bodeguita del Medio bars, obligatory stops for tourists seeking the Havana of American writer Ernest Hemingway who drank his daiquiris and mojitos there.

Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero was appointed earlier this year with a mandate to stamp out corruption and reorganize the leisure industry.

Dozens of managers who rode a tourism boom that has averaged 10 percent growth per year since 1990, have been removed.

Hundreds of mid-level management positions have also been cut as many secondary operations of the three big state-owned tourism companies (Cubanacan, Gran Caribe and Isla Azul), which control 30,000 of 42,000 hotel rooms in the country, are merged.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on October 15, 2004 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Is there a bigger story behind the scenes here?

    Raul Castro runs Gaviota and (I believe) the Ministry of Tourism.

    Is he posturing to control the major source of revenue coming into Cuba?

    Raul vs. Fidel?

    For the real story, always follow the money.

    Cuba consulting services

Would you like to add more information?

Only members can add more information. Please register or log in

  • Advertise at Havana Journal Inc
We recommend this AirBnB Food and Drink Experience... Cuban flavors: Food, Rum and Cigars
Images of Cuba
Hemingway house bathroom
Follow Havana Journal
SUBSCRIBE to our Cuba Watch newsletter
LIKE us on Facebook

FOLLOW us on Twitter

CONNECT with us on Linked In

Section Archive
Havana Journal, Inc. BBB Business Review

Member of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy