Sol Melia to Gain From
U.S. Repeal of Travel Ban Cuba
By Jens Erik Gould and Nadja Brandt
Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- 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
“While lifting the travel ban is a perfectly commendable project, the main economic beneficiary will be Sol Melia,” said Muse, who advises
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 2007.
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.
Standing Room Only
The Washington-based trade association has held about six meetings with dozens of its 300 members to discuss business opportunities with Cuba since President Barack Obama succeeded George W. Bush in January.
“If these meetings were taking place under Bush,” who favored retaining the travel ban, “you could’ve fit everyone interested in a closet,” said Colvin. “Now they’re standing room only.”
Christopher Sabatini, policy director at the Council of the
The legislation has 179 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House and needs 218 votes to pass if all 435 members vote. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate.
Marriott shares rose 70 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $27.66 at 3:38 p.m.
“We certainly would monitor any changes the
U.K.-based InterContinental Hotels Group Plc. says it will not enter
U.S. tourists will flock to Cuba because their inability to travel there for almost 50 years has created an “allure” and “mysteriousness” about the island, said Eric Trump, executive vice president of development and acquisitions for Trump Organization, a real estate investment and development company founded by Donald J. Trump.
‘On our Radar’
Wyndham Worldwide Corp., the franchiser of Days Inn hotels and Super 8 motels, considers the lifting of the embargo a matter of time, according to Eric Danziger, president and chief executive officer of Wyndham’s hotel division.
“Sol Melia is there presently and that gives them a current advantage,” Danziger said in a telephone interview, adding that the market has great appeal.
Ignacio Sosa, a Cuban-born founder and managing partner of Boston-based hedge fund OneWorld Investments from 1998-2008, said “singling out Cuba as the only country Americans can’t travel to has produced no positive results.”
Sosa, who emigrated with his anti-Castro family from Cuba in 1960 when he was four years old, will testify at the hearing with retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey, the White House’s anti-drug czar from 1996-2001, and James Cason, who headed the U.S. interests section in Havana under Bush.
On Sept. 3, Obama ended restrictions on Cuban-Americans traveling and sending money transfers to relatives back home. That’s expected to double to 200,000 the number of
“If you are a potato, you can get to
Orbitz Worldwide Inc. said Nov. 11 that it received 100,000 signatures for a campaign it started in May called OpenCuba.org. Lifting the travel ban to
To contact the reporter on this story: Jens Erik Gould in Mexico City at firstname.lastname@example.org; Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles at email@example.com
Last Updated: November 16, 2009 15:50 EST