Photo: Golf Making a Return to Cuba
An unlikely sport is gaining popularity in the island nation of Cuba, and Canadian businesses appear to behind it.
Possibly as a sign of the changing times, a sport many have designated as being for the wealthy and those looking to maintain some kind of social status has begun growing once again in Castro’s communist nation, thanks to two Canadian developers behind the creation of four luxury golf resorts planned for the island.
In the 1920s, Americans were responsible fo the initial introduction of golf to Cuba, but over the last five decades, the sport has nearly been eliminated, as only one 18-hole course remains, which many saying it had no place in a communist nation, while also wasting good farmland.
In 2002, however, Standing Feather, a company with standing ties to Cuba, was asked by Cuban officials to consider building a tourist attraction centered around golf.
Standing Feather’s managing director Chris Nicolas told Macleans, “They said the all-inclusive, sun-and-sand model was getting a bit tired, and they wanted to keep it rising. This type of value-added tourism offers more variety and certainly caters to a higher level of tourist. It’s a completely different model for Cuba.”
The Ottawa-based company is expecting the deal to be finalized by the end of the year, with building in the eastern Holguin region expected to take 2 years, at a total investment cost of $530 million.
Another Canadian developer, 360 VOX, based out of Montreal is planning to build a golf resort in Jibacoa, near Havana. they are hoping to open their resort in 2012.