Cuba and Tourism

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Cuba and Tourism

Ernest Hemingway was no tourist, but his attraction to Cuba was much like that of the rest of America. The beautiful beaches and tropical climate helped him write novels, but he also loved the daiquiris at the Floridita, the fishing, and the adventurous bootleggers from Florida. Cuba has its beautiful beaches and fish-filled waters, but part of the attraction as well has historically been the plentiful rum and the "anything goes" atmosphere. The casinos and nightclubs frequented by tourists bring with them an unsavory element in the form of organized crime and prostitution. Tourism has its benefits, but in Cuba it is a clear reminder of the island's dependence on wealthy foreign nations for its survival, and the disparity in income between Cubans and their neighbors to the north. The dollar-based society a tourist economy creates is deeply stratified, and conflicts with the ideals of the Castro's socialist revolution. Yet in recent years it has proven to be a good source of hard currency for the struggling economy, and efforts are being made to expand the industry. By promoting tourism, Cuba is taking advantage of its beauty, but is opening itself to unfortunate exploitation.

The Playground for North Americans

In his essay Tourism Development in Cuba, historian Derek R. Hall describes Cuba in the early 1900's as "a playground for North Americans." Just ninety miles from the coast of Florida, Cuba's close proximity and near-perfect weather made it the premier attraction in the Caribbean for American tourists. Americans had always traveled to Cuba, even when it was still a Spanish colonial possession. Businesses in the United States had invested extensively in Cuba, and the two were big trading partners. Cu...

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...om Tourism & The Less Developed

Countries, Harrison, David, editor. Belhaven Press, London, 1992. Page 110.

14. Eckstein, Page 39. (handout)

15. Ibid, Page 67-68.

16. Hall, Derek R., Tourism Development in Cuba, from Tourism & The Less Developed

Countries, Harrison, David, editor. Belhaven Press, London, 1992. Page 113.

17. Grossman, Cathy Lynn. Sea change for tourism in Cuba: Visitors find island in flux, USA Today, January 19, 1996, page 5D.

18. Benesch, Susan. Angling for tourists, Cuba hosts "Playboy", St. Petersburg Times,

January 31, 1991, Page 19A.

19. Boudreaux, Richard., Cuba Hopes Its Doctors Can Cure the Economy, Los Angeles Times,

February 19, 1991, Page 4, Column 1.

20. Lapper, Richard., It’s back on the road to prosperity: Tourism. Financial Times

(London), March 24, 1999, Page 3.

21. Ibid, Page 3.

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