Marriott International, Inc. has announced it has received US approval to pursue a business transaction in Cuba.
The company is in discussions to develop a hospitality relationship with potential partners.
Yesterday, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced it has partnered with several Cuban entities to manage hotels in the island nation.
Starwood’s deals, made possible through what appears to be unique approval from the Obama administration, marks the first US hotelier to operate in Cuba since the 1959 revolution.
The Starwood sites include: Hotel Inglaterra, owned by Gran Caribe, will become one of Starwood’s Luxury Collection hotels. The Quinta Avenida, run by Gaviota, will become a Four Points by Sheraton hotel. A third location is reported to be under letter agreement so far.
Marriott President and Chief Executive Officer Arne Sorenson is traveling with U.S. Commerce Secretary Pritzker during the President’s visit to Cuba.
Marriott’s objectives in Cuba include entering the hospitality sector with Marriott brands, providing hospitality training for Cuban nationals, helping to generate new economic opportunities for businesses supplying the hospitality industry, and as a corporate citizen, supporting opportunities for youth, women and other communities in Cuba.
Mr. Sorenson said, “We are gratified to receive permission from the U.S. government to pursue business opportunities in Cuba. While there is still work to do before any agreement is reached, we are actively pursuing relationships in the hospitality sector. We have long been convinced that with the right frameworks in place, new economic opportunities, including dramatically expanded travel, abound in Cuba. These could deliver real benefits to the Cuban people and also have the effect of bringing both Americans and Cubans closer together.”