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Island widens possibilities for golfing Cuba holidays

  • 06-Sep-10 17:10
  • Cuba
  • Holiday Industry

Fuelling speculation that the island's markets are opening up to foreign investors, Cuba has just approved a law that will allow foreigners to lease state land for 99 years, which will spur further developments, especially in the golfing sector.

Island widens possibilities for golfing Cuba holidays

For some time now there has been growing speculation about the possible blooming future of Cuba holidays with great world-class standard golf courses. And to fuel such speculation it has been now revealed that Cuba will allow foreign investors to lease state land for 99 years. Such a move is expected to spur luxury developments such as golf courses and other upscale tourism products benefiting the luxury holidays market in Cuba. The new law, published in the Official Gazette on Thursday, was said to be aimed at "facilitating the process of participation of foreign investment in international tourism" by giving "greater security and guarantee to the foreign investor in the real estate business."

On the topic of further investing in the Cuba holidays market or taking further steps to boost it, Cuban authorities have said that a dozen or so golf developments are under consideration as they seek ways to boost tourist revenues for the fragile economy.

In two decrees that lessen state control to some extent Cuba decreed that foreign investors could lease government land for up to 99 years and another that will let Cubans grow and sell their own fruit and vegetables. Foreign investors were previously able to lease land for 50 years with an option to extend the lease for 25 years more.

Cuba said it was changing property laws "with the aim of amplifying and facilitating" foreign investment in tourism, and that doing so would provide "better security and guarantees to the foreign investor."

Investment firms are proposing lavish 18-hole courses ringed by luxury housing under long-term government leases. Cuba currently has just two golf courses nationwide, but the Tourism Ministry has said it wants to build at least 10 more.

"I think this is huge. This is probably one of the most significant moves in recent years relative to attracting foreign investment," said Robin Conners, CEO of Vancouver-based Leisure Canada, which plans to begin construction next year on a luxury hotel in Havana and also wants to build hotels, villas and two championship golf courses on a stretch of beach in Jibacoa, 40 miles (60 kilometers) to the east.

The private markets and gardens will no doubt ensure that there is a larger supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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