Cuba to court foreign investment in theme park tourism projects

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Cuba plans to court foreign investment in the tourism sector with proposed theme parks and water parks, according to the Tourism Ministry.

Reinaldo Daniel Alonso, director of Development, Investment and Business at the ministry, told reporters recently some 140 new projects could be included in an updated investment portfolio the government plans to unveil at the 2017 Havana International Fair in November.

The proposed projects include many non-hotel related investments, such as water parks and theme parks, he said, though expanding the island’s hotel capacity is also a major goal.

The portfolio will also feature new golf courses that are independent of hotel and real estate development, such as two being built in the resort of Varadero and in the eastern province of Holguin.

New hotel projects are slated for Vinales, a picturesque valley located 175 kilometers west of Havana, and Trinidad, a colonial town situated 315 kilometers southeast of the capital.

The government’s tourism development plan envisions building 224 new hotels and expanding 32 existing ones by the year 2030, to boost the island’s total number of hotel rooms from the current 67,000 to 103,000.

Tourism arrivals have increased in Cuba, following the restoration of ties with the United States under former President Barack Obama, with 14.5 percent more international visitors in 2016 over the year before.

This year, Cuban officials hope to welcome some 4.2 million visitors.

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