Speed Reads

U.S./Cuba

Trump's decision to walk back relations with Cuba could help his hotel business

President Trump is expected to announce Friday a rollback on former President Barack Obama's efforts to open relations between the United States and Cuba, a move that The Washington Post notes could ultimately help Trump's hotel business by kneecapping its competitors:

As part of an ethics pledge, Trump's company has vowed to pursue no new foreign deals during his presidency, making a potential foray into Cuba off limits for now. Yet, according to one industry expert, a presidential directive restricting efforts there by [Starwood Hotels and Resorts] or other hotel chains would, in effect, neutralize a chief rival's ability to gain an early advantage.

"What's the president going to say? That the largest hotel company in the world, a competitor, is not allowed to renew its license" to operate in the country? asked Julia Sweig, a longtime Cuba scholar and former adviser to Starwood who has called for normalizing relations with the island. "That could be interpreted as the president is going to hold things up for the competition until the Trump Organization is ready to go down there." [The Washington Post]

Airbnb, which recently got approved to operate in Cuba and is a direct competitor of the hotel industry, would also likely be hit by the anticipated policy changes.

The Trump Organization has expressed interest in Cuba too, with executives scoping out a golf course last year. When still a presidential candidate, Trump told CNN he'd be interested in opening a hotel in Cuba "at the right time, when we're allowed to do it." Read the entire report at The Washington Post.