Cuba eyes foreign tourism investors

Cuba has approved plans allowing
foreigners to develop tourist projects, opening the way for developing luxury
golf complexes to try to lure affluent tourists.

Tourism minister Manuel Marrero,
speaking at a tourism fair, says Cuba is in advanced talks with “several
potential foreign partners” for such projects.

Although 2.4 million tourists
visited Cuba last year, many did not stay long or spend much money, prompting
Havana to look for ways to attract more affluent visitors.

A number of European and Canadian
investment firms have already proposed building luxury sea front apartments and
villas with golf courses.

“A policy was approved that
permits real estate development associated with tourism, fundamentally golf
courses, marinas and other complementary tourist investments,” Marrero

There is now only one 18-hole golf
course on the island, but there are plans, some well advanced, to build 10 new

To get around a Communist ban on
foreign ownership, the government is reportedly weighing rules to allow
foreigners to ink medium- to long-term leases of real estate.