New luxury hotel opens in Havana at a complex time for tourism

A new large luxury hotel of the Indonesian group Archipielago International opened its doors in Havana on Thursday, at a complex time for the island’s tourism sector.

The Grand Aston La Habana, with 600 rooms and facing the iconic Havana Malecón, is located in the El Vedado neighborhood, the company reported on its website.

Facilities, with hints of Southeast Asia, include an infinity pool, spa, and a selection of bars and restaurants, some on the 25th floor.

As is the usual model in Cuba, the state owns the hotel, which is managed by Archipielago International.

This hotel group, the largest in Southeast Asia, is carrying out an aggressive expansion in the Caribbean. In Cuba they already manage three hotels and intend to open another two this year, in addition to the Grand Aston La Habana, including one in Varadero.

The company, the first hotelier in Southeast Asia, has 200 properties and projects, with more than 30,000 rooms in total, according to its own data.

The Cuban tourism sector, like the global one, is going through a complex moment due to the pandemic. Added to this are the effects of the economic crisis on the island.

Cuba received 573,944 international travelers last year, 60% less than in 2020, according to the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI).

Despite omicron and the war in Ukraine – which has caused Russian tourism to collapse in March – the Ministry of Economy and Planning (MEP) estimates that this year the goal of 2.5 million international visitors will be achieved.

The tourism sector is the second largest contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) and the second largest foreign exchange earner.

This story was originally published on March 18, 2022 7:33 a.m.

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