- Title: Major U.S. hotel groups sponsor tourism investment meeting in Havana
- Date: 16th May 2017
- Summary: HAVANA, CUBA (MAY 16, 2017) (REUTERS) PEOPLE WALKING IN FRONT OF SIGN WITH IMAGE OF OLD CAR AND CUBAN NATIONAL CAPITOL BUILDING AND READING (IN SPANISH AND ENGLISH): "WELCOME. SAHIC - CUBA" BANNER WITH THE LOGOS OF THE HOTEL COMPANIES PRESENT AT THE ANNUAL SOUTH AMERICAN HOTEL AND TOURISM INVESTMENT CONFERENCE (SAHIC) GUEST WALKING IN FRONT OF DISPLAY PROMOTING TOURISM IN CUBA GUEST LOOKING OUT WINDOW WITH VIEW OF CRUISE BOAT BY THE MALECON SEA FRONT HAVANA, CUBA (MAY 15, 2017) (REUTERS) GUESTS AT INAUGURAL EVENT IN MELIA COHIBA HOTEL PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF THE SOUTH AMERICAN HOTEL AND TOURISM INVESTMENT CONFERENCE (SAHIC), ARTURO GARCIA, SPEAKING AT INAUGURAL CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF THE SOUTH AMERICAN HOTEL AND TOURISM INVESTMENT CONFERENCE (SAHIC), ARTURO GARCIA, SAYING: ""The problem is if the American companies are ready, not ready, got the right approvals to begin to be part. But the Cuban government is absolutely open to receive (companies) from all over the world, and of course from the big U.S. brands". BUSINESSMEN DURING ROUNDTABLE EVENT HAVANA, CUBA (MAY 16, 2017) (REUTERS) GUESTS WALKING OUT OF CONFERENCE ROOM HISTORIAN, EUSEBIO LEAL, SPEAKING WITH GARCIA AND OTHER GUEST HAVANA, CUBA (MAY 15, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR VICEPRESIDENT FOR REAL ESTATE AND DEVELOPMENT AT HYATT, DAVID TARR, SAYING: "We are in the hospitality business so we want to be doing business everywhere our guests want to visit. We believe our guests want to visit Cuba which is why we're here". GUESTS LISTENING TO CONFERENCE WORLD TRAVEL AND TOURISM COUNCIL PRESIDENT, DAVID SCOW, DURING CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD TRAVEL AND TOURISM COUNCIL PRESIDENT, DAVID SCOW, SAYING: "Now the U.S. market is opening up so you will see the The Marriotts, Hiltons, and Wyndhams invest once everything is ready in terms of the documentation (U.S. regulations) and legal aspects. They will come."
- Embargoed: 30th May 2017 18:28
- Keywords: detente United States tourism Cuba
- Location: HAVANA, CUBA
- City: HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA0016H39YYR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The annual Latin American Hotel and Tourism Investment Conferences meeting opened in Havana this week and the list of sponsors read like the who's who of the U.S. hotel industry.
The head of the organization, Arturo Garcia, told Reuters it was no accident that the likes of Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Choice and Wyndham were supportive, saying the next step in the development of the hotel business in Cuba is the participation of U.S. companies.
The event is the latest indication, following the signing of agreements earlier this year by major cruise companies, that the U.S. hospitality industry is betting that hotel operator and now President Donald Trump will not shut the Cuba door on his industry peers.
David Tarr, senior vice president for real estate and development at Hyatt, said the company is very interested in Cuba as a destination for their guests, and that they hope relations will be normalised.
On the eve of President Barack Obama's historic visit to Cuba last year, and after obtaining a special Treasury Department license, Starwood became the first American hospitality company in more than half a century to operate a hotel, Four Points Sheraton, on the island.
Garcia said most sponsors are waiting for this same approval, adding that their hotels could be expected all over the island as soon as they receive it.
U.S. travel to Cuba has already surged, albeit from very low levels, since the former Cold War foes announced a detente and the Obama administration eased travel restrictions beginning in 2015.
Cuba reported 4 million arrivals last year, of which 285,000 were Americans, with their numbers increasing at a rate of 18 percent so far in 2017.
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