“Hemingway Hotel” Set For Groundbreaking This Year, With A Distinctively US-Focused Target Consumer
Chinese investment in Cuba has largely flown under the radar in the last several years, mainly because China, unlike the former Soviet Union, has not cornered the market for foreign investment in the island nation. Large-scale construction projects have been undertaken by companies from a number of EU countries as well as Canada, but in the last few years there has been a push by Chinese state-run developers to get more market share as many see a (very) gradual thaw in relations between Cuba and the United States in coming years (and huge potential for the US tourism buck).
This week, Reuters reported that a Cuban-Chinese venture is set to break ground on a new luxury hotel focused primarily on the future American tourists that both countries assume will be eventually arrive, ready to splurge on a five-star long-verboten vacation spot:
State-run Suntine International-Economic Trading Company of China and Cuba’s Cubanacan hotel group are partners in the project, which will be a 600-room luxury hotel, the sources, who asked not to be identified, said over the weekend.
Future U.S., not Chinese, tourists appear to be the target market for the hotel that will be built on the grounds of the sprawling Hemingway Marina just west of Havana.
China’s Suntine, with a 49 percent stake, is providing $150 million for the Hemingway Hotel project. Cubanacan, with 51 percent ownership, is providing the land and other resources, the sources said.
Suntine and Cubanacan also are joint venture partners in a 700-room luxury hotel in Shanghai’s Pudong business district, managed by Spain’s Sol Melia.
China is Cuba’s second-largest economic partner after Venezuela. There have been a number of Chinese-Cuban ventures in other sectors like oil, pharmaceuticals, health care and telecommunications.