Just in time for President Barack Obama’s state visit to Cuba, news reports of improved relations between the two countries are just the tip of the iceberg. New business and trade opportunities are also expected to grow substantially.
Research by the International Monetary Fund has estimated that Cuba could expect as many as 10 million American tourists per year versus the 700,000 U.S. tourists it received in 2015. The most immediate economic benefits will be gleaned by the airlines, cruise ships and related travel businesses that are already gearing up for the Cuba-U.S. intermingling. It’s expected that Cuba’s exports into the U.S. marketplace will be of great interest to Americans wanting to experience new taste and flavour sensations. Cuba has a unique culture and their native food and customs are expected to highly influence culinary trades in the Americas.
With thawing of relations between these two North American countries, we may also see an influx of Cuban tourists and cuisine, which will help drive ethnic food industries. In 2016, one could expect to see increased importation of Cuban coffee, liquors, tobacco, and specialty foods of all kinds.