03 April 2007

Tourist Twilight Zone

My poor daughter made the mistake of asking me why socialism doesn't work.

Somewhere between the first roll of her eyes and the time she fell asleep , I told her that it goes against human nature. And since it does, the only hope is to change man, which can only be done through religion. The problem is, that they can't change man with their religion, the Cult of the Absurd, so instead they try to change behavior through brutality, fear and repression.

She's scarred and scared today.

But she learned a valuable lesson, never ask me for my opinion on socialism , communism or just about any ism.

Case in point:

Why is the Cuban Tourist Industry Tanking?

The official story from the Cult of the Absurd is of course to blame the US embargo. The new thing is to blame the effect civilization is having on the planet: Global Warming. See, they reason that Europe was so warm this winter..(how warm was it ?) so warm that European tourists didn't feel the need to travel to the tropical island to escape the cold.

The Nuevo Herald says otherwise:

But internal MinTur documents obtained by El Nuevo Herald, independent experts and tourism-sector workers on the island show there are other serious problems not mentioned by MinTur

Most of Cuba's tourism facilities were built in the 1990s and have received little maintenance since then, said a MinTur official who asked for anonymity out of fear of government punishment.

''The structure created for years in the tourism industry is crumbling piecemeal,'' the employee said. ``Tourism in Cuba is headed for chaos and it will take years to revert the present situation.''

''What's happening in tourism is a reflection of a behavior that has spread nationwide,'' said dissident economist Oscar Espinosa Chepe on the phone from Havana. ``People are disgusted with the economic situation at home, workers don't take pride in their work and inertia corrupts the entire organization.''

Also affecting tourism was the Cuban government's decision in late 2004 to effectively increase the value of its currency by 20 percent, making foreigners' hotel stays and meals in Cuba that more expensive.
But fear not, Socialism has a remedy for the tourist industry:

A new slogan!:
''total change in the philosophy of promotion and advertising for the island,'' and in January unveiled a campaign named ''Viva Cuba,'' designed to present a new image of the country, at the International Tourism Fair in Madrid.

Here's an idea:

Let's try "Viva Cuba LIBRE"; not a slogan, not a drink, but the real thing. And the rest, will take care of itself.

I apologize for the tone of this post. My prescription will be ready around noon.
..and for some hysterical "Why my Cuban vacation sucked" stories check out http://tomasestradapalma4today.blogspot.com/


Jose Aguirre said...

Excellent post! As all these returning tourists complain to their travel agents about their nightmarish vacations in Cuba, the drop in tourism will accelarate. Raul will have to leave the island quicker than he thought.

Mike Hunter said...

"Also affecting tourism was the Cuban government's decision in late 2004 to effectively increase the value of its currency by 20 percent, making foreigners' hotel stays and meals in Cuba that more expensive."

There it is. The reason why people stopped coming is because the government manipulated currency to force vacationers to pay way above the market price.

It use to be worth it for Canadians and Europeans to vacation in Cuba because even after one took into account all of the scams, bribes, and currency manipulation the cost of a decent quality Carribean get away in Cuba was still much less then going to a resort in Nassau.

When the government kept pegging currency higher and higher the prices kept rising until ultimately we encounter the situation they are dealing with now when the cost of going on vacation in Cuba doesn't reflect the quality of services.

This results in a downward spiral: less people go to Cuba, so they have less money to invest, causing even less people to vacation in Cuba, ad-infinum.

If government leaders were smart they would let the CUC float on the free market, aggressively tackle corruption, and take the substities they receive from Venezuela and invest them into the tourism sector.

But true Marxists (such as Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Il) never were good with economics, that's why they believe in Marxism in the first place; government leaders who know better are too afraid to make sweeping economic policy changes to install Chinese style Communism lite; and everyone else is trying to milk everything they can out of the system so they can have some kind of safety net in case Fidel dies and it all falls apart.

El Gusano said...

thanks Jose.

mile had me worried there till the last paragraph. he's right Marxism goes counter to human socioeconmic behavior. look at PDVSA in Vn, an oil co that looses money.