SAGE Publications | Article published by SAGE in Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly
An analysis of the potential relationship of Cuba and United States tourism interests by Sergei Khrushchev and two coauthors, published in the November 2007 issue of the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, suggests that the U.S. hospitality industry can begin to help bridge the economic gap between Cuba and the United States.
As the son of the former Russian premier, Khrushchev has the unusual position of living in the U.S. but having dealt with both the Cuban people and Fidel Castro. Together with his coauthors, Tony L. Henthorne, Ph.D. and Michael S. LaTour, Ph.D., the article explains their personal experiences and their recent qualitative research in Cuba. The authors found a deep distrust between the people of the two countries, while, at the same time, U.S. dollars are desired in the Cuban economy. The authors contend that, if the current embargo was lifted, U.S. hospitality industry sponsored research could be a way for the U.S. to get its “foot in the door” in Cuba, while dispelling some of the distrust of America.
“We see a historic opportunity for profitable investment in a “new Cuba” write the authors. “Not only can the U.S. hospitality industry participate in shaping that new Cuba, in partnership with locals, but we contend that now is the time to advance prescriptive, forward-thinking insight designed to shift the thinking of the U.S. business community about Cuba and, in so doing, shift the thinking of the Cuban government, businesses, and people about their neighbors to the north.”
The article, “Cuba at the Crossroads: The Role of the U.S. Hospitality Industry in Cuban Tourism Initiatives,” written by Sergei Khrushchev, Ph.D., senior fellow in international studies at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, Tony L. Henthorne, Ph.D., chair of tourism management and professor of marketing at the University of Southern Mississippi, and Michael S. LaTour, Ph.D., chair and professor of marketing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is accessible for a limited time at http://cqx.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/48/4/402.
Cuba at the Crossroads
The Role of the U.S. Hospitality Industry in Cuban Tourism Initiatives
by SERGEI KHRUSHCHEV, TONY L. HENTHORNE, and MICHAEL S. La TOUR | © 2007 CORNELL UNIVERSITY
The U.S. embargo has clearly been costly to the Cuban people, in terms of their health and well-being. Based upon the first author’s firsthand, informal personal interactions with the Cuban people, including Cuban president Fidel Castro, as well as the authors’ recent qualitative research in Cuba, this article contends that these past decades have fostered a deep degree of distrust between our two peoples. Despite this distrust, U.S. dollars are desired in the Cuban economy. As background, this case offers an historical chronology of Cuban tourism, including the “Special Period” following the demise of the Soviet Union. Current insight is offered into the nature and depth of distrust of the United States, based on interviews with Cuban hospitality managers.
Recommendations are then offered for mitigating this problem including a call for in-depth, multifaceted basic and applied cross-cultural research to support intelligent cultural “bridge building” and joint ventures.
The long-standing U.S. embargo on travel to Cuba has made life difficult for the Cuban people without achieving its stated purpose of regime change. Supported for many years by the erstwhile Soviet Union, Cuba turned to tourism as means for earning foreign exchange after the USSR imploded. Tourism has afforded a means for many Cubans to improve their lot, especially when their jobs allow them to collect U.S. dollars, which are a prized currency on the island. Operators from several nations are a part of Cuba’s tourism industry, which is second largest in the Caribbean and chiefly attracts travelers from Canada and Europe. Left out of the island’s tourism ventures are U.S.-based chains and operators, who would benefit from being able to participate in Cuba’s growing tourism industry. Given the likelihood that President Fidel Castro will not return to power, the moment is ripe for American tourist interests to seek their opportunity to do business in Cuba. A particular benefit of tourism joint ventures would be restoration of trust between the peoples of Cuba and America, a trust that has been impeded by political activities on the part of both governments.
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