Cuba to Unfreeze Growth of Private Tourism Businesses

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Cuba Private Business
Tourists ride classic American convertibles in Havana, Cuba. . (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan, File)

HAVANA (AP) — The Cuban government will allow new restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts and transportation businesses by the end of the year, reopening the most vibrant sectors of the private economy after freezing growth for more than a year.

The government is unveiling a set of new regulations meant to control the growth of tourism-related private businesses and collect more tax revenue from them. Private restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts boomed after U.S.-Cuba normalization in 2014 prompted rapid growth in tourism to Cuba.

Tax evasion and purchase of stolen state materials also boomed in the mostly cash-based private hospitality sector. Among other measures, the new regulations announced Tuesday require private businesses to move all their revenue through state-run bank accounts. Cuba froze new licenses for restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts and other key business in August 2017.

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