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Cuban Economists on the Cuban Economy$
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Al Campbell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044231

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044231.001.0001

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The Evolution of International Tourism in Cuba

The Evolution of International Tourism in Cuba

(p.234) (p.235) 9 The Evolution of International Tourism in Cuba
Cuban Economists on the Cuban Economy

Miguel Alejandro Figueras

University Press of Florida

Tourism has been Cuba’s most important single industry of the last two decades, the “ersatz sugar industry.” It is hard to imagine how a complete economic collapse-and, with that, an end to Cuba’s fifty-year experiment in building socialism-could have been avoided without the remarkable performance of the tourist industry during the Special Period. Notwithstanding its already relative decline, it will remain an important branch of the economy in the long term. As Miguel Alejandro Figueras in this chapter and Alfredo García in the subsequent complementary chapter argue, the tourist industry has three very specific aspects that differentiate it from other branches of production in Cuba. The first is fairly narrowly economic. The starting point for Cuba’s commitment to build its international tourist industry in the Special Period almost de novo was that this industry could generate rapid returns on investment, generate foreign-exchange earnings and, given its potential profitability, attract foreign capital to build the industry more rapidly than Cuba’s capital resources would allow. The second is ideological, involving its interaction with various aspects of building socialist consciousness. The third involves its intersection with particular environmental problems and constraints.

Keywords:   Miguel Alejandro Figueras, Cuba, Cuban, tourism, economy, Special Period, economic changes, ideology, environment

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