The recent discussions to re-establish relationships with the US will impact Cuba
s tourism business. Mr. Marrero, Cuban's Tourism Minister, announced a wealth of promising ideas for European business investments in Cuba. These ideas are expected to bring a larger number of Europeans to Cuba chasing after the islands eternally shining sun.
The ideas include, for example, direct flights from Italy and Portugal to Havana. Air Europa and Iberia are two of the many European giants who want “a foot at the door” for when the expected openings actually happen. They are talking about extending hotels chain operations, setting up foreign tour companies, increasing frequency of flights to the island and all kinds of other types of expansions.
All this will certainly bring increases in the numbers of travelers from Cuba to the island, particularly those from Spain, Italy and Portugal.
In the coming years, Europe will reshape Cuban culture as follows:
- We’ll get closer to our roots: People that have been to Cuba can attest to the fact that everyone in the island has a ancestral link to a particular country in Europe. In fact, they could be third generation Cuban but they will still tell you things like “my family is from Spain”. Europeans will bring back to the island what Americans took away back in the late 1800’s when they snatched power over Cuba off the Spanish Kingdom.
- Food will just get better: Cubans love European food, but for the life of them they cannot cook pasta ‘al dente’, or a Paella that’s not too dry. You see where the points just drop in the Tripadvisor’s reviews: the food. With more Europeans going to the island that should change right away. Our pasta will get harder and our paellas will get tastier. Master Chefs will be flown there to teach Cubans how to cook for Europeans if they want them to keep booking in their Cuban-owned ‘Casas’ for rent and hotels.
- Cubans will get even smarter: (I will try to be careful about how I say this, because by no means I wish to be misunderstood) One of the greatest things that the openings should bring for Cuban should be a more relaxed ability to speak to foreigners that visit the island. This is something Cubans love doing -given their unquenchable thirst for learning-. With a bigger influx of Europeans to the island, Cubans will be able to establish healthier connections with more people from the outside the world, including in-depth conversations with Europeans who can give them first-hand information about what’s happening out there in the world. Although many Cubans speak English, these connections are easier established with people who speak your language. I don’t foresee this is one of the benefits that the expected influx of Americans into the island will bring.
Europeans are already running to Cuba before Americans get there
In the meantime, while all this is brewing, we can also see that the recent announcement by both Cuban and American governments has pushed Cuba to the top of many people’s bucket list. Europeans in particularly are saying they want to go visit Cuba before Americans get there.
If they can live with soft, mushy pasta and dry paella, while Cubans learn how to cook these dishes for them, they should go right ahead! As a travel tip, they should avoid those European restaurants in the hotels anyway. They should stroll around town and pay a visit the Cuban Paladars (small Cuban family run restaurants). This will not only help build the modest wealth of Cuban hard working families but also will help you discover what is -I think!- the best food in the world.