The Cuban government through its Ministry of Tourism aims to position the country as a touristic landmark destination in the Caribbean by enhancing nautical activities, cultural tourism, professional international events, health tourism and the development of real estate projects associated with golf courses.
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean offering breathtaking beaches, ecological wonders, a rich cultural heritage and a captivating history. Foreign investments in the touristic sector will focus on promoting hotels through developing new or existing accommodation facilities and complementary infrastructures. Accordingly, alliances are sought with companies of international prestige based on such companies’ reputation, financial strength and international experience in the touristic arena.
According to official data from the Cuban government, the existing hotel infrastructure currently has 65,676 rooms and is expected to contain 107,900 additional rooms by 2030. There are currently 27 Joint Ventures with 5,906 rooms divided among 15 hotels. In addition, there are 17 foreign hotel groups in the country with 76 approved Administration and Marketing Contracts, and 67% of the room pools operate under some form of foreign investment. In 2015, approximately 3,524,800 tourists visited Cuba bringing revenues of $1,498.1 MM CUC. Canada continues to be the principal market for tourism to Cuba. Touristic priorities will include the Guardalavaca area in the north of the Holguin province, the South-Central Coast, specifically, Cienfuegos, Playa Santa Lucia in the northern part of Camaguey and the Covarrubias Tourist Resort Area, which is north of the Las Tunas province. The new Portfolio of Opportunities offers 127 new projects to investors, 25 of these projects involve the development of new hotels, 97 projects involve management and marketing contracts in new and existing facilities, and 5 projects deal with contracts for the administration and marketing of marine/nautical services.
The use of renewable energy sources and environmental sustainability are top priorities for the Cuban government, which is actively seeking alliances with foreign partners to create, expand and modernize existing production capacities and to promote projects to generate energy from renewable sources to ultimately reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
Cuba also seeks alliances to decrease the inefficiencies in the current electrical system by modifying the energy matrix for the generation and consumption of electricity. The Cuban government plans to install 13 wind parks along its northern shore to produce 633 MW of wind, 19 bioelectric stations to produce 755 MW of bioelectric power and 700 MW of solar power and plans to expand its hydropower capabilities. Presently, the island has 142 hydroelectric dams, 32 of which are connected to the grid. Moreover, there are ongoing feasibility studies regarding the installation of 19 bioelectric plants that would produce over 1,900 GWh/year. Cuba’s production of renewable energy increased from 3.2 MW in 2012 to 30 MW in 2014 and is projected to reach 700 MW by 2018. Overall, the government is planning to spend approximately $1.3 billion on biomass, $1.1 billion on wind power and just over $1 billion on solar power.
The Cuban government is actively seeking alliances with foreign investors to develop and diversify its manufacturing industry to ultimately reduce its dependence on imports and increase its exporting capabilities.
Cuba’s goal is to create a dynamic manufacturing industry with highly qualified personnel, while reducing costs and improving the quality of manufactured products. Identified priorities include expanding and upgrading existing manufacturing capacities and building new facilities for the production of aluminum, glass bottles for beverages and preserves, medicines, metallic structures, various types of paper, car batteries, industrial developments for molds for the plastics industry, manufacturing decorative lamps for tourism, LCD and LED televisions, induction stoves, UPS, LED lighting and other electronic applications to meet existing market demand for such products and to export to foreign markets.
Medical, Pharmaceutical, and Scientific Cooperation
The Cuban government is actively seeking direct foreign investment to develop, modernize and diversify its medical and pharmaceutical industry. Cuba’s objective is to manufacture finished products and active drug ingredients for generic medicines and related health services.
Accordingly, Cuba is seeking to improve the health of the Cuban people and to generate exportable goods and services. Currently, the Cuban pharmaceutical industry uses different types of business arrangements such as joint research and development projects, distribution, licensing and representation agreements, technology transfer agreements and other joint enterprises abroad. Cuban pharmaceutical companies have obtained over 800 health product registrations in 50 countries focusing on disease prevention, including prophylactic vaccines, cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment for diabetic patients, diagnosis and rehabilitation for cardiovascular diseases, and early detection of juvenile neurodevelopmental disorders. Over 2,000 patents have been granted overseas, and Cuba exports its products to over 48 countries with programs for clinical development, which include 23 testing clinics in 35 countries.
To boost the performance of its agricultural sector, the Cuban government has implemented agricultural policies with economic incentives for producers of agricultural products, including access for the producers to funding, consumables, agricultural markets and technology.
Land ownership remains in the hands of the State even though only 30% of the land is managed by state entities while 70% is managed by non-state entities. The country has 6.24 million hectares of farmable land, but only 2.7 million hectares of such land are currently being cultivated.
Foreign investments are needed to promote comprehensive agri-industrial projects to increase food production, encourage sustainable development and increase efficiency, quality and competitiveness of products aimed at replacing Cuba’s importation of food products, while also increasing and diversifying exports. The current domestic market potential is approximately $2 billion. According to the USDA, U.S. exports of agricultural products to Cuba reached $150 million in 2015. Leading U.S. exports to Cuba in 2015 included: poultry ($78 million), soybean meal ($55 million), soybeans ($10 million), corn ($5 million) and dairy products ($412,000). Cuba also has natural advantages to promote exports. Experts project that following the lifting of the embargo and assuming current commodity prices, U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba may reach an approximate annual average value of $600 million, while imports from Cuba would have an approximate average annual value of $2.2 billion.
The construction sector in Cuba covers engineering and geological research for construction, drawing and designs for the development and building of civil, industrial and engineering works, docks and dredging works, as well as the production and commercialization of construction materials and products.
To access new technologies and improve its construction capabilities, the Cuban government is seeking to establish joint ventures with foreign partners to modernize its engineering and construction infrastructure, to provide building, installation and specialized construction services for existing facilities and new real estate projects associated with the tourism, manufacturing, mining and transportation industries. Foreign partnerships are also sought to develop and modernize existing general repair plants to increase the manufacturing of construction materials to ultimately decrease Cuba’s importation and increase its exports of construction materials.