Cuba’s communist regime could invest cash into solving the food shortages and fixing the collapsing electrical grid. But none of those investments generate revenue for the Castro family dictatorship. This is socialism in action.
In the midst of the worst crisis in Cuba this century, the government invests in golf courses, dolphin aquariums, and scuba centers
Less than 24 hours after Cuba’s Ministry of Energy and Mining admitted that solving the electricity crisis and the consequent blackouts will take time, the Cubasol Business Group announced investments in the creation of new aquatic parks, dolphin aquariums, golf courses, and other attractions for tourists visiting the country.
According to a report by the state-run news agency Prensa Latina, this state-owned entity in charge of non-hotel infrastructure and real estate development for the tourist industry in Cuba plans to raise capital to expand its facilities through 2030, including foreign capital.
According to Cubasol vice-president Alex Mulet, there are approximately 150 projects set to begin in the next eight years, among them recreational and adventure parks and the expansion of aquatic facilities.
They expect 40 of these projects to be completed by 2026 with several of them located in Cayo Coco as well as Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus, Varadero, and Holguin.
These investments are above and beyond other investments in aquatic parks, dolphin aquariums, infrastructure to support boat excursions, and the visualization of natural attractions, in addition to cable skiing and diving facilities, said Yudaysi Lazo, the commercial director of the group.
Another area of development for Cubasol is real estate, including golf courses. Among those, the General Director of Cuba Golf, Ruben Fores, said that today they have several companies dedicated to the sport: Carbonera S.A. in Matanzas, El Salado S.A. in Artemisa, and Punto Colorado in Pinar del Rio.
Those investments will fund the launching of real estate projects related to golf as well as “tourist facilities and the sale of property to foreigners,” said Fores.
Despite the fact Cubans are suffering through a shortage of basic needs such as food and medicine, the government does not stop its investment in hotels and other attractions in spite of the slow recovery of the tourist industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to official figures, 987,008 international visitors arrived in Cuba between January and June of 2022. This represents a 55.73% increase over the same period in 2021.
This number, which is equal to 567,972 more international visitors than the previous year, or a 596.3% increase, is still not enough for the Cuban regime to achieve its goal of receiving 2.5 million tourists in 2022.
If you count only international tourists and exclude business and personal trips, assuming the same number of visitors in the second half of the year, the government’s estimate of tourist arrivals will still fall short by a little more than 1 million visitors.
Tourism is the second-largest part of Cuba’s GDP and is also the second most important source of hard currency, behind the medical “missions” exported by the regime.
The state-run tourist sector expects to end the year with 84,906 hotel rooms, a 5.7% increase over the previous year. This is a product of the Cuban government investing almost $1.5 billion in hotels over the past two years.
Nevertheless, economist Pedro Monreal confirmed last June that even if Cuba received the 2.5 million tourists it expects in 2022, most of those rooms would go unused.