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British companies want to invest in energy projects and the Cuba holidays market

  • 23-Sep-10 17:51
  • Cuba
  • Holiday Industry

After Cuban authorities have finally opened up land investment opportunities to foreign companies, a London newspaper has revealed that as many as 25 British companies could set up long-term investments in tourism and energy projects in the island.

British companies want to invest in energy projects and the Cuba holidays market

The Observer recently published an article this week stating that some British firms could be the first foreigners to buy land in Cuba, now that the country's government has opened up to foreign investment, easing restrictions. According to the source, these companies plan to inject money in tourism and energy projects over more than four decades.

The newspaper article, written by Elena Moya, added that representatives of several British firms are currently in talks with the Cuban government on this issue. "British companies could be among the first foreigners to buy land in Cuba since Fidel Castro's revolution in 1959", the paper stated.

The article also revealed that as many as 25 British companies are aiming to strike deals that could allow them to invest in the Cuba holidays market, develop new Cuba hotels, golf courses and renewable energy projects. Law firm Eversheds, Esencia Hotels and Havana Energy are among the firms that will meet with Cuban government officials. "Cuba is open and prepared to receive foreign capital and to develop mixed projects along with the Cuban government," were the words from Igor Caballero, a Cuban embassy spokesman in London.

The present government, led by Raúl Castro, has promised economic reforms and just last month approved a law allowing foreign investors to acquire 99-year land leases in the hope that this will inject much needed cash into the island's tourism infrastucture, increasing the capacity to hold a larger number of tourists going on Cuba holidays. Cuba already has commercial relationships with Russia and China, although their distance makes tourism and other trade deals expensive.

The Observer also informed that the British trip, organised by the independent Cuba Initiative, is due to take place between 26th September and 3rd October 2010, and may lead to the first purchase of Cuban land by a foreign investor since 1959. "We are optimistic of a positive outcome to the visit in terms of UK investment. There are significant opportunities in a limited number of sectors," David Jessop, director of Cuba Initiative declared.

Some projects, such as Esencia Hotels' luxury resorts, could be worth up to $400m (£256m). The government could be prepared to sell 10 golf course sites, and other projects include a $40m development using a sugar-cane by-product to produce renewable energy, to be sold to the Cuban grid, the article of Moya said.

More than 170,000 Britons go on holidays to Cuba every year, a number beaten only by Canada tourists. Currently though, it is Spanish companies such as the Sol Meliá hotel chain, who have bigger investments there.

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