Cuba unfreezing growth of private tourism businesses
Created : 10 July 2018
Tourists ride classic American convertibles in Havana, Cuba. AP Photo.
The Cuban government will allow new restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts and transportation businesses by the end of the year, reopening the most vibrant sectors of the private economy after freezing growth for more than a year.
The government is unveiling a set of new regulations meant to control the growth of tourism-related private businesses and collect more tax revenue from them. Private restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts boomed after U.S.-Cuba normalization in 2014 prompted rapid growth in tourism to Cuba.
Tax evasion and purchase of stolen state materials also boomed in the mostly cash-based private hospitality sector. Among other measures, the new regulations announced Tuesday require private businesses to move all their revenue through state-run bank accounts. Cuba froze new licenses for restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts and other key business in August 2017.