Surely they couldn't have screwed up tourism this quickly?


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Cuba Tourism is booming.  However insiders who have been in the cuba tour game for a long while are pulling their hair out. Apparently not all that glitters is gold. :cofcig:

It all started post the Obama "limited easing" where the Cuban Government appointed trusted military apparatchiks to the CEO positions of all aspects of the travel/tourism game. They always had end control mind you, but now day to day decisions/directions were made by people with limited experience. 

  • stroke a pen.....let's double hotel room rates. No wait...let's treble some of them. 
  • stroke of a pen....let's make it illegal for Cuban tour operators (some based in Cuba for 20 years) to handle US groups of more than 6 people.  These operators (mostly European) have been handling clandestine and legitimate US tour groups prior. they were looking forward to the opening up...which will now be handled by Govt operators. Keep in mind, it was these operators who handled payments (mostly illegal) for tens of thousands of Americans travelling to Cuba each year. The last thing the Cuban Govt wants now is competition for those markets. 

the end result?

  • Many European and Canadian tourism businesses are dropping Cuba from their marketing and PR. 
  • There are hotel rooms vacant for the habanos festival ( the festival which is now charging $750 USD for the Gala dinner, $2000 for the week of events). 
  • the Habanos Festival is sold out (and has been for some time). However Distributor (PCC etc)  group registrations are down some 50% on last year. Simply a matter of cost (Festival/Accommodation/travel logistics). 

 

The end effects won't be seen for another 18 months. it is possible that the current US love affair will plaster over the widening cracks for a season or two more to come. However one senses trouble down the road as Cuba (specifically Havana) out prices itself and finds that the core markets it once relied upon has abandoned it.

 

En fin....this is a salient lesson for Habanos distributors (and retailers) worldwide.  Don't expect much special treatment when the time comes of a lifted embargo. :thinking:

 

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They've managed to piss off the Canadians....wow, that takes a lot to do!

 

so if Trump rolls back Obamas changes then the hotels who've been half full at inflated prices suddenly start making losses and can't rely on the Canadians to fill their rooms.

 

 

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1 hour ago, El Presidente said:

Cuba Tourism is booming.  However insiders who have been in the cuba tour game for a long while are pulling their hair out. Apparently not all that glitters is gold. :cofcig:

It all started post the Obama "limited easing" where the Cuban Government appointed trusted military apparatchiks to the CEO positions of all aspects of the travel/tourism game. They always had end control mind you, but now day to day decisions/directions were made by people with limited experience. 

  • stroke a pen.....let's double hotel room rates. No wait...let's treble some of them. 
  • stroke of a pen....let's make it illegal for Cuban tour operators (some based in Cuba for 20 years) to handle US groups of more than 6 people.  These operators (mostly European) have been handling clandestine and legitimate US tour groups prior. they were looking forward to the opening up...which will now be handled by Govt operators. Keep in mind, it was these operators who handled payments (mostly illegal) for tens of thousands of Americans travelling to Cuba each year. The last thing the Cuban Govt wants now is competition for those markets. 

the end result?

  • Many European and Canadian tourism businesses are dropping Cuba from their marketing and PR. 
  • There are hotel rooms vacant for the habanos festival ( the festival which is now charging $750 USD for the Gala dinner, $2000 for the week of events). 
  • the Habanos Festival is sold out (and has been for some time). However Distributor (PCC etc)  group registrations are down some 50% on last year. Simply a matter of cost (Festival/Accommodation/travel logistics). 

 

The end effects won't be seen for another 18 months. it is possible that the current US love affair will plaster over the widening cracks for a season or two more to come. However one senses trouble down the road as Cuba (specifically Havana) out prices itself and finds that the core markets it once relied upon has abandoned it.

 

En fin....this is a salient lesson for Habanos distributors (and retailers) worldwide.  Don't expect much special treatment when the time comes of a lifted embargo. :thinking:

 

Well, as a US citizen I can emphatically state the embargo will not be lifted in the next 4 years. It is safely in place. : )

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42 minutes ago, planetary said:

Lifting the embargo requires an act of Congress, so let's give it 2. :) 

Cruz and Rubio will be there beyond 2 years. Guaranteed.

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1 hour ago, planetary said:

Lifting the embargo requires an act of Congress, so let's give it 2. :) 

One can only hope...

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4 hours ago, El Presidente said:

There are hotel rooms vacant for the habanos festival ( the festival which is now charging $750 USD for the Gala dinner, $2000 for the week of events). 

For reference what were the prices for the dinner and events in years past?? 

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I recently looked at the cost of staying at the Nacional for a night or two in July. The price was almost $400 a night!
Unfortunately with prices like that they are pricing themselves out and it must surely be unsustainable.

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3 minutes ago, David88 said:

I recently looked at the cost of staying at the Nacional for a night or two in July. The price was almost $400 a night!
Unfortunately with prices like that they are pricing themselves out and it must surely be unsustainable.

I wouldn't recommend staying there.  Great place to visit, but by Western standards, it's very dated.  You can rent a better appointed house with its own pool for that price.  

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1 minute ago, JohnInCleveland said:

I wouldn't recommend staying there.  Great place to visit, but by Western standards, it's very dated.  You can rent a better appointed house with its own pool for that price.  

This is why I couldn't believe the price. I've been to the Nacional and I couldn't imagine that a room would be worth the price they are asking. I was just looking to weigh up my options and swiftly moved on.

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1 hour ago, David88 said:

I recently looked at the cost of staying at the Nacional for a night or two in July. The price was almost $400 a night!
Unfortunately with prices like that they are pricing themselves out and it must surely be unsustainable.

They have a lot to learn about capitalism. 

You can stay at the Ritz in Grand Cayman for that price.  Additional bonuses: everyone speaks English, you can use US credit cards and US cell phones (no sim changes required), A+ restraunts, and you can smoke all the cubans you want.

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6 hours ago, Dara said:

They've managed to piss off the Canadians....wow, that takes a lot to do!

 

so if Trump rolls back Obamas changes then the hotels who've been half full at inflated prices suddenly start making losses and can't rely on the Canadians to fill their rooms.

 

 

canadians wouldn't want to go there. there are no seals to whack.

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3 hours ago, gmoney said:

For reference what were the prices for the dinner and events in years past?? 

I haven't been for a while (in Feb), however I think I am safe to say that they have doubled in the past three years. 

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Just back from Havana and will probably be my last for the foreseeable future.....it will be interesting to see how things progress. New swanky hotels in the process of being built on the malecon and Prado.......it's a real juxaposition for the Cuban Govt.  I certainly noticed a Increased cost of things like our casas, meals, cabs, booze, etc.....the lack of Cristal beer and the abundance of Miller Lite.  I believe our Casa doubled in price in less than a year. Interesting for sure as we watch change.  As mentioned in an earlier post the quality to cost ratios for other travel destinations in the carribean will factor into my travel plans. ..............and for the record Ken we leave our wacking clubs at home when we travel abroad......eh. ??

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4 hours ago, El Presidente said:

I haven't been for a while (in Feb), however I think I am safe to say that they have doubled in the past three years. 

They've been creeping up over the last few years.....2012 prices were

Opening Event - 210 CUC

Midweek Event - 200 CUC

Gala Event - 525 CUC

 

(In each of my 3 visits during festival time I've never bothered with the Gala dinner as I've preferred to invest the money in cigars instead and hit El Ajibe with others for the alternative dinner good food good smokes and lots of rum

Oh and the award for most inflated price must go to the Cuban hotel industry/cartel, in 2013, 6 nights in the Nacional cost me the total of 850CUC......It's probably that for 1 night now!!!

 

 

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Friends travelling to this year's Festival told me that Melia Habana is asking 660 CUC a night per room ... and other top hotels have indeed doubled/tripled prices.

If there is one thing Cuban gvt. officials  ( as well as others in the tourism trade there ) understand, it's offer and demand.
And they only care about today's money, not about the long run ... hopeless.

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Raise prices?

They seem to get positive reinforcement on the relationship between higher prices to more sales from their cigar industry....

Their "special" production items keep coming....the prices keep rising...and the worldwide public keeps buying...........

Why wouldn't they think that they can just replicate that equation to their tourism industry???

The idiots running the show over there have a lot to learn especially with Americans.  Most of the travel to Cuba by Americans (that I know/hear about) are "the guys going down" for a party....what percentage of you guys have taken the wives?

Their travel industry will never amount to anything unless they offer top notch state of the art accomodations with all the accoutrements that pampered American woman have to have to rave about the trip to their friends which will then keep them coming back year after year.  From what I hear and have read about - they have a loooong way to go.

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