Cuba: Is Tourism Good Or Bad For The Country?

On the face of it, this question is an absolute no brainer! When holidaying in Cuba, it is fairly obvious the country is still well and truly in a state of transition.

Firstly, there are little ‘pockets’ of tourism spots dotted throughout, set well away from any decent sized town or city

(exclude Havana for the time being).

In these tourism hot spots, enormously big 4 and 5 star all-inclusive resorts have been thrown up offering luxurious holidaying in Caribbean tropical heat with carefully planned excursions for all guests where contact with everyday people is quite minimal.

When I stayed with my family, we lapped up these excursions and enjoyed every minute, but it did not take much to be able to see beyond our planned viewing and see some of the ‘real’ Cuba.

A train trip through sugar cane fields showed us hard worked farmers on their smallholding, growing enough to allow their family to survive.

Another trip to a cigar factory saw lines upon lines of workers creating cigars, each with their own specialism, from day 1 until the day they could no longer do their job anymore (a woman there had worked 50 years doing the same rolling job her entire life).
Now don’t get me wrong –

Cuba is absolutely stunning with its architecture and charming people so surely outside investment pouring into the country would be a great thing?

Well, here is my point: it depends on what it is used for.

The worst thing I could imagine is lots of foreign building firms coming in and transforming the country into a concrete jungle a la Benidorm or obnoxious, loud dives such as Magaluf.

One of the quintessential factors in my desire to return to Cuba is to avoid any possibility of walking into a tourist trap like those mentioned above. The retro 1950’s cars, the shabby architecture that has been patched over and over again but looks so attractive and the history Cuba has created itself are all massive selling points on why people should go to Cuba.

This is what needs to be promoted.

In turn, the people obviously will have to share in the wealth generated (I’m afraid the political situation is a little outside of my knowledge so I will be rather brief) as living conditions need to be improved. However, for the purpose of this blog, Cuba must ensure they maintain quality and not plump for quantity when looking at external investment into their beautiful country.

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