The US Government has instructed Marriott to close all hotels in Cuba following President Trump’s tightening of the US trade embargo on Cuba.
US closes Cuban hotels.
The tightening of embargo conditions from the Trump administration is designed to pressure Cuba to adopt democratic reform and to cease support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Marriott operates hotels under the Starwood Hotels brand. In 2016 Starwood became the first US hotel brand to open and operate in Cuba since the revolution in 1959. At the time, former President Barack Obama was keen to communicate with Cuba in an attempt to build political and economic bridges.
A spokesperson for Marriott said of the move: “Marriott International has been notified by the U.S. Department of Treasury that we must wind down our operation of the Four Points Sheraton in Havana, Cuba by August 31, and that we will not be permitted to open other hotels in Cuba that have been in preparation. We entered the Cuban market in 2016, with permission from the U.S. government. Our operating license was reviewed and renewed in 2018. We have recently received notice that the government-issued license will not be renewed, forcing Marriott to cease operations in Cuba. Marriott continues to believe that Cuba is a destination that travelers, including Americans, want to visit. Marriott looks forward to reopening in Cuba if and when the US Government gives us permission to do business there again.”
US closes Cuban hotels – A Political Move
President Trump’s actions could reward him with greater support across the large Cuban-American community in Florida, a state considered vital to his re-election chances in November.
The US Treasury Department ordered Marriott/Starwood to close the Four Points Sheraton in Havana by the end of August and cancel any plans to open other hotels in Cuba.
Tourism in Cuba and hotels like the Four Points Sheraton in Havana is controlled by a commercial arm of the Cuban military.
Trade embargoes by the US were expanded last week and are set to increase as US citizens are banned from doing any business with Cuba’s military-owned financial organisations.
Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson certainly had much to say recently in New York where we featured global hotel superpowers sharing their recovery outlooks. There were areas of agreement in general but looking at recovery in the global hotel market there was disagreement on where it will focus.
US closes Cuban hotels