Chapter

A Means of Last Resort

Evan R. Ward

in Packaged Vacations

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032290
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038995 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813032290.003.0010
A Means of Last Resort

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By the mid-1980s, Fidel Castro recognized the folly of trying to manage hotels and retail establishments without the proper expertise to be competitive in the global marketplace. He knew that he lacked the expertise necessary to operate a world-class tourist destination, and so welcomed European firms with a lot of experience in tourism. Castro's opening to Western Europe in the 1980s was a tacit admission that the island could not survive without some expertise in the fields of hotel and retail management. The arrival of companies such as Sol Meliá returned the pendulum to its original point in the mid-nineteenth century, as Cuba's economy oriented itself toward Europe. Ironically, the American hotel and resort infrastructure that was supposedly erased by the Cuban Revolution, as in the cases of Varadero and the former Habana Hilton, provided the groundwork for European success on the island. After that success, the Helms-Burton Act represented an extraterritorial attempt on the part of the United States to thwart European domination on the Cuban island.

Keywords: Cuba; Fidel Castro; tourism; hotels; Europe; Helms-Burton Act; United States; Sol Meliá; Varadero; Habana Hilton

Chapter.  7644 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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