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


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7 hours ago, Corylax18 said:

I love the Cuban people, but they need to help themselves at some point. If 60 years of abject failure havent pushed them to force change internally, I don't know what will. How long will it take for them to realize its not the rest of the planets fault? Nobody else has more power to change their situation then them. 

More easily said than done obviously under an oppressive system. But likewise true.

I think it may also be part of a certain mentality. And after having gone repeatedly from bad to worse historically, a developing mindset of what evil will perhaps come next?.... So better just leave as is - or try and leave....

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4 hours ago, Fugu said:

More easily said than done obviously under an oppressive system. But likewise true.

I think it may also be part of a certain mentality. And after having gone repeatedly from bad to worse historically, a developing mindset of what evil will perhaps come next?.... So better just leave as is - or try and leave....

Oppresive regimes have been torn down from South Africa to Poland to East-Germany, no excuse for Cubans to sit on their hands if they really want the system to change. It's their country after all and only they can change it.

I guess leaving the island has been the easier option and has taken pressure out of the pot.

 

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4 hours ago, Fugu said:

More easily said than done obviously under an oppressive system. But likewise true.

I think it may also be part of a certain mentality. And after having gone repeatedly from bad to worse historically, a developing mindset of what evil will perhaps come next?.... So better just leave as is - or try and leave....

The Cuban people need to rise up and overthrow the regime. There are 10 million people there? Much more than government officials or military.

As an American who has never been there but would love to, with the exorbitant prices for hotels and such will likely convince me to vacation elsewhere. 400USD a night can get you a fine hotel anywhere in the Caribbean, Bahamas or Mexico. Complete with hot showers, bathroom towels, wash cloths, and reasonable meals. Some of these things apparently are not even available in Havana's finest hotels.

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7 hours ago, nino said:

they only care about today's money, not about the long run

This was kind of my thought as well when reading all this. Disregard for traditional visitors. No thought of slow, steady, sustained growth. Get the money now. No thought of the big picture or long term. Just a thought.

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Aside from chasing cigars and related events... it would seem that the major draw to the island is/was a "cheap" party/vacation (depending on what your requirements are). Just like with cigars, it seems that they are not concerned about maintaining a loyal customer base.

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1 hour ago, NYgarman said:

The Cuban people need to rise up and overthrow the regime. There are 10 million people there? Much more than government officials or military.

As Fugu notes, easier said than done. The dynamics of Cuba are quite different than those of the Soviet Union, for example. The inmates always outnumber the guards as a rule. Cuba is a unique country with a unique history. The relatively small population and geographical area make it much easier to centrally plan without disaster. These people have been indoctrinated since birth of the evils of capitalism and their exposure to the truth is fairly well controlled. There's been US gov't interference in their country for centuries. This is where a kernel of truth can be spun into a big lie, that the Yanquis are the authors of their oppression and have been so for centuries. etc. 

Exposure to the US & those principles and values are the only thing that is going to motivate the Cubans to rise up and throw off their real shackles. If what was happening with the hospitality industry was more obvious, and occurring in other sectors of the economy, affecting more Cubans, the idiocy of the central planning would become apparent. If even a smidgen of a middle class emerged, I think you'd see a real pushback occur. Of course, I think this can only happen with the ending of the embargo and sanctions, flooding Cuba with the exposure they need to see the lies for themselves. Three generations of Cubans have not been prompted into action by the sanctions. I think it may be time for a different approach.

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16 hours ago, BEVOSREVENGE said:

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.

You don't smoke enough Cubans now? 

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23 hours 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:

 

I am going to the festival and almost choked when I saw the price of the Gala dinner. Yes, I am going anyway but never spent that much on a gala before and from what I understand, it's smart to eat before you go. 

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14 minutes ago, Bohn007 said:

I am going to the festival and almost choked when I saw the price of the Gala dinner. Yes, I am going anyway but never spent that much on a gala before and from what I understand, it's smart to eat before you go. 

Bring a good lighter with you, preferably a jet....it's handy for warming up the food at the gala ?

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32 minutes ago, Bohn007 said:

I am going to the festival and almost choked when I saw the price of the Gala dinner. Yes, I am going anyway but never spent that much on a gala before and from what I understand, it's smart to eat before you go. 

if the means are there, i think anyone who loves cigars should go to the gala dinner once. i have been to some spectacular gala's. I have been to some absolute dogs as well. You marvel at the former, laugh at the latter. Cuba. 

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3 hours ago, nino said:

Oppresive regimes have been torn down from South Africa to Poland to East-Germany, no excuse for Cubans to sit on their hands if they really want the system to change. It's their country after all and only they can change it.

I guess leaving the island has been the easier option and has taken pressure out of the pot.

 

Yes, I think so, too. And basically I concur. It was not meant so much as an excuse rather than as an attempt of an explanation. But it's always difficult with such historic comparisons.

E.g. Germany - good example as there are quite a few parallels, but also significant differences. Won't start a debate on it here. But GDR had likewise been on a very long (political &) economic downfall, only survived on the umbilical of Comecon and West Germany. There had also been similar effects of a continuous draining of dissidents from the country. The end then finally and suddenly been triggered by an unplanned "Schabowski-accident" (followed by the decision of a few singlehearteds not to shoot). But had the Russians, i.e. Gorbachev, and others (!) not approved with it......... Not to belittle the changes brought about by the "People", and true, wouldn't have happened without that antecedent street pressure. But let's not forget, there were powers working in the background taking the decisions. And that had also taken quite some time, too. Well, whom I am telling...:D

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Never been to Cuba or looked into it, but this issue doesn't sound all that different from other markets.  At least for a while there will probably be more demand than supply, rich Americans, etc.  So all you traditional/historic travelers are just getting squeezed out.  Who knows if you will see a reversal in your lifetimes.  Perhaps not.

Echoing BarryNY - draw a parallel to the RE/LE program.  I don't mean to open that whole can of worms -- but -- can it really seriously be debated that the tobacco making up those programs is not being stolen from regular production?  And yet people keep paying.  And buying.

TL;DR more money than sense in the market, the golden days may be gone for good

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My wife and I were in Cuba in 2015 when the announcement of relaxed relations USA/CUBA. Within months we noticed that vacation prices were on the rise.

At present it seems that vacation prices have risen 30-40%.

 

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