14ymedio, Havana, 6 March 2021 — The Spanish chain Meliá stopped managing three of its 35 hotels in Cuba in the last months of 2020. According to its latest economic report, the decision is due to the “scarce commercial opportunities” of the tourist centers and “the operational problems faced over the last few years. ”
The hotels that the Spanish company will no longer manage are Sol Cayo Guillermo, Meliá Cayo Guillermo and Sol Cayo Largo, where the change was accomplished in the last quarter of last year, the report explains. With this reduction, Meliá went from 14,781 rooms in 2019 to 13,916 at the end of 2020.
As for the most affected markets, Cuba stands out, where 60% of the facilities were closed due to the pandemic, the chain says. “This is due to its high dependence on the international market.”
The income of the European company on the Island fell in 2020 by 84%, yielding only 1.9 million euros, against the 12.1 million it earned the previous year. The company also lost 3.9 million euros in taxes.
Meliá insisted that these results are due to the “closure of borders and internal movement restriction measures to face the pandemic” and recalled that “during the second quarter practically all hotels were closed.”
Among the prospects for 2021, the chain takes into account “the profound monetary reform put into effect in Cuba,” which introduces a devaluation of the Cuban peso against the dollar “whose official rate goes from one-to-one to 24-to-one.”
“As a result of the radical readjustment in relative prices, a notable improvement in the profitability (now measured in Cuban pesos) of export activity is expected, which will directly benefit the country’s tourism activity,” the report states.
Meliá expects tourism demand to recover “strongly” when the health situation normalizes, between this coming May and June, a period in which it foresees a rebound in the number of reservations in Cuba.
Last September, Meliá announced that it was working on a new type of accommodation for teleworking. The project would be aimed primarily at Canadian clients, the main source market for tourists. But the current report does not provide details about the project.
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