Can Tourism Save Cuba's Communist System?

By Salloum, Habeeb | Contemporary Review, September 1992 | Go to article overview

Can Tourism Save Cuba's Communist System?

Salloum, Habeeb, Contemporary Review

MANY Cubans staring into the Intur shops filled with tourists buying goodies must feel like what a friend of mine described as |visitors viewing sea animals in an aquarium'. See, but don't touch! Comparing their empty shops to this wonderland of bounty, what do they think? No one in that country has taken an opinion poll.

Even though these shops and their host hotels are bringing in the much needed foreign exchange, will this favourable treatment of tourists solve Cuba's severe economic woes? In its numerous resorts, the Cuban government is doing its utmost to make sure tourism will bring in more and more of the world's financial controller -- the American dollar.

The hotels mushrooming day after day in these retreats are the heart of Cuba's attempt to overcome the US blockade and, at the same time, keep the country's communist system in place. The best example of this is Varadero, Cuba's top resort. New and rebuilt tourist abodes are opening their doors on a continuing basis. A half dozen years ago, with the exception of the International, a pre-revolution luxury relic, there was not one hotel which met the world's standards of four star and up tourist abodes. However, in the past several years, all this has changed. Paradiso, its twin Puntarena, Sol Palmeras, Tuxpan, and the huge 490-room Melia Varadero have opened their doors for business, and their inauguration is only the initial stage in bringing the resort's luxury tourist facilities up to world standards.

With the rooms they offer, added to those of the older two and three star lodging places, Varadero's hotels now incorporate 6,000 chambers. For the future, plans call for increasing these, mostly in the top category, at about 2,500 per annum until the year 2000 when the resort will have in the neighbourhood of 30,000 rooms waiting for the expected onrush of visitors.

The country has been striving hard since the collapse of the Soviet Union to cope with horrendous economic difficulties, such as shortages of oil and most other essentials, but the planned tourist projects have not been halted or even delayed. Varadero's newly built hotels were all completed on time. In 1991, I remember the five star Puntarena barely rising above its cement foundation. When I returned a few months ago, it was in full operation. Today, work continues on others; among those, well on its way to completion, is the six star hotel Cuatro Palmas.

Cuba's educated and skilled work force combined with the investment of foreign capital and technology in joint ventures have produced excellent results. Throughout the island, Castro's government has approved around fifty joint ventures with foreign companies and another 100 are under negotiations. In Varadero, the Cuban tourism state company, UNECA, in co-operation with the Spanish companies Oasis International and Gropo Sol, the Jamaican Super Clubs and Italian investments have built the recently opened hotels, or are working on the series of new projects along the resort's twelve miles of white sands and crystal clear blue waters.

With aid from the former Soviet Union now a thing of the past, virtually the country's only hope for prosperity is the tourist industry. In a supposedly classless society, tourists have become the privileged class. The best in food, lodgings, travelling facilities and entertainment are at their beck and call.

So far, the returns have met expectations. In the coming years, the government hopes that tourism will keep the staggering economy on an even keel. In spite of the fact that the USA retains an economic embargo against the country, including the banning of Americans travelling to the island, visitors from other countries are taking advantage of Cuba's reasonably priced new accommodations. Germans, Italians, Spaniards and tourists from the South American countries are arriving in ever-increasing numbers. Added to the Canadians who have been coming for years and now make up 49% of the country's visitors, Cuba now has an international clientele which could possibly push the island out of its economic difficulties. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Can Tourism Save Cuba's Communist System?


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.