SAHIC to explore Cuba's huge development potential

HAVANA — The SAHIC Cuba conference will attract developers and investors from around the world who want to explore the tremendous growth in hotel development projected for the island nation.

Arturo Garcia Rosa.

Arturo Garcia Rosa.

By Colleen Isherwood, Editor

HAVANA — The SAHIC Cuba conference will attract developers and investors from around the world who want to explore the tremendous growth in hotel development, real estate and tourism projected for the island nation.

The inaugural SAHIC Cuba will be held in Havana May 15-16, 2017 at the Melia Cohiba Hotel in the Veradero neighborhood. Since 2010, Arturo Garcia Rosa, president of SAHIC South American Conferences and SAHIC Cuba, has travelled to Cuba, nearly on a monthly basis, to work exclusively with Cuban hotel companies to grasp an understanding of the infrastructure, policies and processes for tourism and hotel development in the Caribbean island nation.

“It’s so exciting to have this new conference,” Garcia Rosa told CLN.  “We have been working for so many years, and the Cubans have been waiting for this moment.  At the end of 2014, Obama and Castro made some changes, and opened up some great opportunities.”

Tourism continues to grow
in Cuba and will continue to grow at surprising levels. Since December of 2014,
the country’s tourist arrival rate rose 7 per cent, a notable percentage for a two-year
period of growth. As of December 30, 2016, Cuba reached four million tourist
arrivals, an increase of 13 per cent as compared to 2015. And so tourism has become the
second largest generator of income in the country, behind that of professional
services, reaching $2.8 billion in 2016.

Looking at the projections
for hotel development, 108,000 new rooms will be added by 2030, with an average
of 8,000 rooms added per year over the next fourteen years. Key hotel groups
supplying this growth are Grupo Gaviota, Gran Caribe, Cubanacan and Isla Azul
groups. Additionally, the Cuba Golf group, will add hotels, real estate, golf
courses and various other amenities.  And
prior to its acquisition by Marriott, Starwood had agreed to operate the Four
Points Miramar of the Gaviota group, which opened last June.

Various airline operators
are increasing flight routes to Cuba –  American, JetBlue, and Delta. Newcomers
include Austrian Airlines, Pegas, Virgin Atlantic, Itaca, Turkish and Euorwings
which plan to establish flight routes this year. 

Delegations from Cuba came to two previous SAHIC conferences: Lima, Peru,
in 2015 and Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 2016. 

“Cubans need money, but they also need knowledge and
expertise,” Garcia Rosa said. “That’s why we are so excited — hotel companies come to be involved.
They need expertise in architecture and construction.”

The main focus is the hospitality industry and real estate.
There are some huge mixed use projects — five huge projects in different
locations, each of them about $200 to $500 million USD.

Garcia Rosa estimates the conference will attract 250 to 300

In the future, there will be more SAHIC conferences, thanks to SAHIC's alliance with Jonathan Worsley of Bench Events, international conference organizers.  The 10th SAHIC South American conference will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina in September.  Garcia Rosa also foresees future SAHIC conferences in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.

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