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Challenges Still Exist for Business and Travel in Cuba

“The penalties are very harsh and it would be a mistake not to follow those categories,” said

John Thomas, Assistant Professor for the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University. Thomas authored a new study, “Future Hospitality and Tourism Business in Cuba: Opportunities and Obstacles." He says while diplomatic relations are being restored, tourism and establishing businesses in Cuba is a challenge. “Any business coming to Cuba has to allow the Cuban government to retain 51% of controlling interest, so you can’t just go rent a building and set up shop, you have to get a license from the government and they will be your partner,” said Thomas. He says controlling interest is one of the reasons why Cuba is not getting a lot of American businesses to commit right away. The other issue is the Cuban government retains the right to hire all employees for a business. “You can’t go to the street to find people to be employees and you can’t run a wanted ad, you must go through a Cuban agency that provides employees,” said Thomas. “Generally they will give a business a pool of employees to choose from selected by the government employment agency and you have limits on who you can choose as far as benefits and pay. All the working provisions are also negotiated with the employment agency, so it is a third party employment system.”
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