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Report: Cuba Opens Door to Golf Courses

May 5, 2010 By: Joe Pike

Reuters is reporting that Cuba has approved the development of golf courses, marinas and other real estate projects by foreign investors to boost the communist-run island's tourism industry, Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero said on Tuesday.

The measure appears to open doors to foreign companies that have long-pending proposals to build at least 10 golf courses on the Caribbean island, where there are now only two.

According to the report, golf is seen by cash-strapped Cuba as a way to attract more tourists to the island, and more with money. Last year, 2.4 million tourists visited, but they spent 12 percent less than in 2008, according to government statistics.

Havana has a nine-hole course used mostly by diplomats and foreign business officials, and the beach resort of Varadero, 85 miles east of the capital has an 18-hole course, which Travel Agent had the opportunity to see first hand during a visit to the country last year.

The proposed courses would include construction of luxury condos and homes, which has been a major sticking point in getting approval by the government.

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