CUBAN CANADIAN RESORTS LAUNCHED
An agreement was reached and a Joint Venture formed for the development and construction of four multi-purpose luxury resorts in Cuba that were to be constructed in Havana (Santa Maria), Santa Lucia, Varadero and Cayo Coco.
The scope of work included initial contract negotiations, recruitment of a team including architect, engineers, construction company and the development of a construction budget for Phase One.
In addition, a team was assembled for the development of the timeshare infrastructure for which much complicated work was necessary to permit it to function in a North American context with the US Embargo in place.
The financing of Phase One was assembled which included equity and debt financing.
Thursday 8 October 1998, 18:09 GMT
CANADIAN/CUBAN COMPANY FIRST TO OFFER VACATIONERS BEACHFRONT TIMESHARE AND CONDOMINIUM UNITS IN CUBA
Toronto, Canada, - For the first time ever, vacationers can now purchase beachfront timeshare and condominium units in Cuba.
Cuban Club Resorts, a joint venture between Cuban Canadian Resorts International, a Canadian-based real estate and development company, and Gran Caribe Hotel Corporation, one of Cuba's largest hotel and tourist companies, will be developing four- and five-star vacation properties in prime beachfront locations in Cuba.
"We are very proud that a Canadian company is the first in the world to launch the timeshare and beachfront condominium industry in Cuba," said David McMillan, President, Cuban Club Resorts, at a news conference held today in Toronto. "We share the same determination as our partners Gran Caribe in ensuring that this new industry is built properly in Cuba."
Cuban Club Resorts plans to build luxury resorts with more than 2,000 units in Santa Maria, Santa Lucia, Varadero, Cayo Coco, and other beach locations over the next 10 years. They will include a mix of timeshare, condominium, and hotel and resort facilities. The cost to build these resorts will be approximately US dlrs 250 million, representing one of the largest business transactions to be completed in Cuba.
Development of Phase One will begin in March 1999, with the construction of 354 units in Santa Maria del Mar, located 18 kilometres east of Havana, and the development of 260 units in Santa Lucia. Prices for timeshare units are expected to start from US dlrs 5,000 for a one-week interval, while condominiums are expected to start at about US dlrs 200,000.
The joint venture was approved in Cuba by the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers and signed by Prime Minister Carlos Lage on August 25, 1998 in conjunction with the Minister of Tourism, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Foreign Investments.
All Cuban Club Resorts properties will be developed to international construction and safety standards. The joint venture agreement has adopted the American Resort Development Association's (ARDA) Code of Ethics, an international standard of conduct for the timeshare industry.
"Cuba is enjoying a phenomenal growth in its tourism industry," said Eduardo de la Vega, Vice Minister of Tourism for Cuba. "By fostering a joint venture such as this, it opens up new market opportunities for Cuba."
Tourism in Cuba is booming. Tourist arrivals have increased from less than 350,000 in 1990 to more than 1.2 million in 1997. In the first eight months of 1998, there were more than 900,000 foreign visitors to Cuba. Cuban tourism officials anticipate two million tourists by 2000, and seven million by 2010. Canada is the largest source of these visitors, followed by Italy, Germany, Spain, and France.
Travel to Cuba is also growing faster than any other Caribbean destination at an average annual rate of 19.3 per cent between 1990 and 1997. This compares to 4.3 per cent for the Caribbean. Tourism has become the major source of foreign currency for the island, generating an estimated US dlrs 1.5 billion in 1997, six times more than in 1990.
"We applaud Cuban Club Resorts and Gran Caribe for their success in working out this agreement," said Gerald Milot, Senior Trade Commissioner, International Trade Centre, Industry Canada. "We are proud that it is a Canadian company that has introduced this concept to Cuba and we believe it will be mutually rewarding for both countries. This is yet another acknowledgement of the excellent relations Canada enjoys with Cuba."
More Canadians visit Cuba than any other Caribbean destination. In 1997, about 170,000 Canadians visited Cuba, as compared to 153,000 for the Dominican Republic, 100,000 for Jamaica, and 91,000 for the Bahamas.
"This is our country's first joint venture of this kind," said Alejandro Escobar, President, Gran Caribe and Vice President, Cuban Club Resorts. "While it is a new concept to us, we see the tremendous potential growth it offers."
Vacation ownership is the fastest-growing sector of the travel and tourism industry. From 1990 to 1995, vacation ownership sales increased by 10 per cent worldwide. There are currently more than 4,700 vacation ownership resorts and 3.8 million vacation club owners worldwide. Cuban Club Resorts will market its properties worldwide, with particular emphasis in Canada and Europe. Arcadia Design Architects of Huelva, Spain, specialists in luxury resort developments worldwide, including Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency resorts in Spain, Fiji, Costa Rica, Egypt, Indonesia, and Mexico, has been retained as the design architect.
Arcadia Design will be working on this project with a Cuban group of architects and engineers. Cuban Canadian Resorts International is a real estate and development company formed by a group of Canadian entrepreneurs in 1994. The company's primary business involves developing commercial properties with a focus on the creation of luxury resort properties in Cuba that cater to the baby boom generation. Gran Caribe Hotel Group Corporation has more than 35 luxury hotel and tourism-oriented properties situated throughout Cuba, including the famous Hotel Nacional de Cuba, and the world-renowned Tropicana nightclub and cabaret.
In 1997, Gran Caribe hosted almost 450,000 visitors to Cuba, representing a 40 per cent market share. The Gran Caribe chain consists of four- and five-star hotels located in major cities such as Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Varadero, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, and Cayo Largo.
Distributed by PR Newswire on behalf of Cuban Canadian Resorts International