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Sol melia 2.jpg

The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing Nov. 19
on the travel ban, the first since Democrats took control of Congress in

The Spanish hotelier Sol Melia SA will benefit over American rivals like Marriott International Inc. if a bill before U.S.lawmakers this week to end a 46-year travel ban to Cuba is enacted while a broader embargo is kept in place.

The trade embargo would ban U.S. hotel operators from lodging the 1.1
million Americans that the U.S. International Trade Commission says may
visit annually if the travel ban is lifted.

And repealing the ban may drive business away from other Caribbean resorts operated by U.S.companies, said Robert Muse, a Washington-based lawyer.

"While lifting the travel ban is a perfectly commendable project, the
main economic beneficiary will be Sol Melia," said Muse, who advises
U.S. clients on Cuba-related issues. Palma de Majorca, Spain-based Sol
Melia is the world's largest resort operator. It manages 24 hotels in Cuba.

U.S. hotels, mobile phone providers, travel insurance companies and
credit card issuers see the bill, known as the "Freedom to Travel to
Cuba Act," as a step to ending the embargo, said Jake Colvin, vice
president of the National Foreign Trade Council.


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