Are US corporations and businesses ready for the inevitable Cuban business boom lurking in the not-so-distant future? Despite the continuing US embargo, companies such as Scotia, a Canadian banking giant, MasterCard, Sherrit International, Netflix and IDT Corp have expanded into the Cuban market and are poised for profit. Highly placed government officials from the EU, Russia and Canada have all met with the Cuban government since the talks began with the US in January. Adventurous American companies not willing to wait it out have already opened up shop in Cuba.
Since the 1990s, tourism has been one of Cuba’s largest income generating industries. The tourism industry has been fuelled by millions of tourists visiting from Canada, Europe, Russia and South and Central America. After the recent Cuba-US talks which are ongoing to this day, Americans are allowed to visit with less restrictions on their travel than ever before. With the relaxed restrictions on American travel, AirBnB has moved quickly into Cuba. Tourism for Cuba will continue to expand and result in the construction of more hotels, the opening of more restaurants, leading to increased employment for Cuban citizens.
Already operating in Cuba, joint business partnerships between government and corporate giants such as Imperial Tobacco (Britain), Melia Hotels International (Spain) Accor, Pernod Ricard (France), are well established in Cuba. US companies will have to, no doubt, play catchup with the international corporations now successfully doing business in Cuba.
Foreign investment in the Mariel Port Special Development Zone will help expand international business in spite of the continuing US embargo. Just how much longer the US can continue with this internationally unpopular policy begs to be questioned. International business demands for the lifting of the US embargo can only grow in a world that is increasingly global and forward-thinking.
The Cuban business boom is inevitable and already happening. Judging at the speed in which foreign ministers of international governments have all jumped into fray and hightailed it to Havana since the talks with the US began earlier this year.
American corporations such as MasterCard, Netflix and IDT Corp have already shown they’re not willing to adapt an “wait and see” stance and have moved ahead joining in the Cuban business boom.