Cuba The Next Hawaii?
The 1960 US embargo on trade with Cuba halted the existence of what was once a favorite destination for middle to upper class Americans looking to get away for a weekend. Up until that point, Cuba had been as popular a destination for Americans as Las Vegas is today, and often for many of the same reasons. Unfortunately, we all know a man by the name of Fidel Castro who had to come along and change all that. But good news is around the corner for those who remember the good ole days.
During the peak of American tourism in Cuba, literally dozens of daily flights connected Miami and Havana. When the embargo came down, many people focused on the ridiculous fact that the largest island in the Caribbean, which also was a mere 90 miles off the Florida coast was now off limits. The embargo cut the limbs off of many American business owners who relied upon the close proximity to profit in trade.
Now those days may be coming back as Obama has lifted many travel restrictions between the US and Cuba that had existed since 1960. Under embargo regulations, an American could only travel to Cuba for vacation only. Now under Obama’s new relaxed rules, a citizen can now go to Cuba for a dozen more reasons. Family matters, Education, and Religion are now among the reasons a citizen can cite going to Cuba. Quite possibly this could signal the emergence of an entirely new market of airlines, hotels, travel agents, car rental agencies, and countless other travel based companies.
Personal importing and exporting regulations have also been relaxed. Now an American can transport $400 of Cuban goods back to United States with them, including $100 worth of Cigars and Rum (both multi-million dollar industries). Banks are also now open to US citizens, including the use of credit and debit cards. The re-monetization process will take time, however.
Hugo Cancio, CEO of Miami based company, Fuego Enterprises, is among many US business owners looking forward to the reopening borders.
When asked about the progress, Hugo replied, “It is not easy to do business in a country that is in transition,” and later added, “It will take time for Cuba to be fully ready to take advantage of these new conditions, but they are working on it….” Indeed, the country of Cuba will take time to adapt to capitalism and a new wave of commerce will cause completely new paradigms to exist between the countries. But at least the end of a drought is coming, and cigar enthusiasts everywhere are all asking themselves, “What took so long?”