I’m not sure how I feel about the announcement from the Cuba Tourist Board about improved internet coverage in the Caribbean island.
The initiative was first presented at FIT Cuba, one of the country’s largest international tourism fairs, hosted in the Villa Clara Keys in May. Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz said in his opening address that wifi coverage would be extended to 287 additional hotels by the end of 2018 with full coverage of every hotel on the island scheduled for 2019.
Part of the island’s charm is the fact that it’s so hard to go online. If you weren’t staying at a hotel with wifi, which were rare, you’d have to buy cards that got you one-hour of connection time at wifi hotspots that were mostly located in the parks and plazas of cities across Cuba. Not only would you have to type in a confusing string of numbers and letters from the scratch-off card for your username and password, there was no guarantee that you’d actually connect if too many people were logged on at once.
Cruz has also announced that Cuba will begin offering visitors preferential rates for roaming service so you can be connected outside of your hotel via your mobile phone as you explore the country. Now that 3G and 4G networks are available in popular destinations like Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Largo visitors will be able to Snapchat and Facebook their vacations like never before.
I suppose there’s no stopping progress and Cuba’s economic outlook depends enough on tourism that it’s necessary to build up their infrastructure to make it more attractive to visitors.