AT&T, Starwood & Marriott International "Optimistic" About Completing Deals in Cuba - Research and Markets

14 Mar, 2016, 09:45 ET from Research and Markets

DUBLIN, March 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Three major U.S. companies are in talks to complete deals in Cuba, with President Obama expected to announce further measures to end restrictions on trade and travel during a visit next week. AT&T, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and Marriott International are all considering announcements timed for Obama's arrival, according to various sources. It will be the first visit to Cuba by a U.S. president in nearly 90 years.

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AT&T are seeking to complete a mobile communications agreement with Cuba's state telecoms monopoly Etecsa. A recent report on the global smartphone market highlighted the declining average selling price of smartphones as a key trend. It says smartphone prices have been constantly reducing in the market, which is making them more affordable, and is expected to lead to growth of 8.1% by 2019. The longstanding U.S. embargo has limited American companies' ability to do business in Cuba, but a deal with Etecsa would open up a whole new market for AT&T.

Hotel giants Starwood and Marriott are also said to be weighing announcements, with a spokesman for the latter saying they were "optimistic" they would get the green light soon from the U.S. government. A recent report on the hotels market identified the booming travel and tourism industry as a major factor fueling the demand in the hotel industry.

Travel to Cuba has increased since President Obama announced changes to loosen travel, commerce and investment restrictions on Cuba in September. This provides a new market for the hotel companies like Starwood and Marriott.

U.S. airlines are also applying for routes to Cuba but the embargo still bans general tourism, and several other restrictions still apply. According to a report on the low cost carrier market, one of the major challenges faced by the market is that LCCs are vulnerable to economic uncertainties and price-conscious passengers. The report still projects growth of 10.42%, but this would be further boosted by travel routes to a budding tourism destination like Cuba.

Obama has called for fully lifting the embargo but that can only be done by Congress, and Republicans currently control both chambers.

For further information on this topic, and a full list of all related documentation, please visit the Hotels and Travel Accommodation or Smartphones and Mobile Devices sections at http://www.researchandmarkets.com/rm/MPKO.

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Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cuba-companies-idUSKCN0WD2HO

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