Non-state tourism in Cuba continues developing based fundamentally on a broad network that extends from one tip of the country to the other made up by some 7,000 rooms for accommodations and more than 2,000 “paladares” (the popular name given to private restaurants).
Characterized by a high-quality and personalized service, non-state tourism, much preferred by Spaniards, Italians and Britons, also includes the private taxis, colonial coaches and crafts fairs. Meanwhile, private workers involved in entertainment, photography and the planning of parties have started working in state-run tourist installations.
In this context, the tourism authorities have started a process of transferring gastronomic establishments owned by public enterprises to non-state working forms: the so-called tourist cooperatives. In their first stage, 21 units were approved, of which the pioneer in this experience was the emblematic La Divina Pastora Restaurant, located in the Morro Cabaña Historic Park, a World Cultural Heritage Site.
There is already talk, with extensive media coverage, of the possibility of gradually and orderly transferring an estimated 7,000 restaurants currently managed by the state to the non-state sector.
Seen not as competition but rather as a complement of Cuba’s offer, since it stimulates its attraction as a tourist destination, it was a novelty during the last season, and the insertion of the non-state sector in the programs offered by Cuban travel agencies and tour operators to international tourism, in terms of accommodations in private houses, restaurants and excursions, is being strongly reaffirmed in the current season.
The local tourist destination’s product portfolios also include the private ones, given that it allow for meeting the high demand during the peak seasons.