EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part one of a two part series about the entrance of Cuba into the lucrative hospitality market of travel and tourism.
I know I am, and if you think you’ve already heard enough about that tropical island sitting a mere 100 miles [+-] due South of us here in Florida you need to get ready to hear more – lots more, because this new détente between our two countries is serious business. Especially in the hospitality industry.
Why? Well, let me illustrate what I mean: imagine you’re an explorer discovering an island, unchartered territory if you will, that has built-in mystique and appeal to tourists who (because living here in Central Florida) we know absolutely positively will buy anything and go anywhere and endure any hardships whatsoever in the name of travel.
Okay, I’m waiting for your imagination to kick in.
Now, knowing that we’re talking about the Caribbean island of Cuba, are you thinking what I’m thinking? CubaWorld? Cubaribbean Studios? Cigar World? (Oh wait, that name is already taken. . .) Anyway, give it time and a site visit or two from some well positioned Disney Executives and who knows what will open up down there?
Yeah, I thought you’d begin to see things my way because let’s face it. Time and again it’s the presence of an appealing tourism product that brings much needed operating revenues into underdeveloped countries. And so far by all accounts of those that have been there, Cuba is an underdeveloped country.
Or is it?
To answer that question, I spoke one-on-one with a respected industry colleague who is already doing business there. In fact to date, she’s made numerous trips herself to this island so she’s already considered an expert on the topic. Her name is Renee Radabaugh, and for 25 years she’s been managing a successful meeting, event and marketing business in South FL called Paragon Events, with clients all over the country. But about six years ago she felt the ‘winds of change’ coming regarding Cuban-American relations, and that’s when she did a very smart thing. Renee actually embraced the unknown and got ahead of the big waves she could already see swelling out there in the Atlantic Ocean from her perch in Delray Beach, and thus Cultural Explorations Cuba was born so that by the end of 2014 it was fully up, licensed and running. Some call it being in the right place at the right time. Knowing Renee as I have for many years in this industry, I call it smart business.
Here’s what she says about her travels thus far. “I enjoy Cuba more each time I visit, but the best part for me is watching how everyone’s perceptions change as they experience the Cuban culture.”
And since we live in Florida where the Cuban American population swells to over 1.2 million, one would think we’ve had our fill of all things Cuba. But apparently not! Stay tuned for part two of this blog series where we’ll do a little exploring about the largest island in the Caribbean and certainly the hottest topic in the tropics these days!