Sunday, August 7, 2016

Putting Cuba on the radar screen for future investment

Daily Progress:

More than 2 million tourists have visited Cuba this year, state media said Wednesday, putting the country on track for a record number of visitors bringing badly needed cash to an economy facing a sharp reduction in subsidized oil from its chief ally, Venezuela.

Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero said visitor numbers were running 12 percent ahead of those last year, which already saw a record number of tourists. The surge is credited to a wave of international interest in Cuba prompted by the announcement of U.S.-Cuba detente in Dec. 2014. Visitor numbers are expected to get a major boost after commercial flights from the United States begin this month.

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Marrero said Cuba expects to receive 3.8 million tourists this year. Josefina Vidal, Cuba's head of U.S. relations, said on Twitter Wednesday that 138,000 Americans visited in the first half of 2016, an 80 percent increase that made the U.S. the second-largest source of visitors after Canada.

I am watching with ken interest the goings on in Cuba. I do not normally agree with Obama's policies but the softer policy with Cuba is one I do agree with. I understand the Castro's are bad people and the country is a communist dictatorship and all the usual pablum that goes with it. However if you are interested in bettering the average Cuban's life the best way is to develop economic opportunities with Cuba and let the younger generation there get rid of the regime.

They want a better life and the Castro generation is dying out. We need to take advantage of this fact and support the younger generation and they will reform the country and government on their own.

You will notice from the article that only 138,000 Americans visited the island in the first half of 2016. This is an 80 % increase from last year. Cuba does not currently have the infrastructure to support millions of tourists from the US but you can bet that it will get built. That is an opportunity that will make millionaires and billionaires from those that understand what is really going on in Cuba. 

I am following a company called Cuba Ventures (CUV.V) as a way to play this trend in tourism. The company owns dozens of Cuba related websites that get millions of views. It monetizes these views through travel arrangements and other activities.This is a highly speculative company and I am not ready to include it in the portfolio. However they have an interesting way to play what is going to be a gigantic opportunity. I may add it in the future if it begins to look like they are actually monetizing their sites. 

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