Tuesday 18 September, 2018

Cuba unfreezing growth of private tourism businesses

Tourists ride classic American convertibles in Havana, Cuba. AP Photo.

Tourists ride classic American convertibles in Havana, Cuba. AP Photo.

The Cuban government said it 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.

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