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The rise of urban tourism in Havana since 1989

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This article looks at the development of urban tourism in Havana, Cuba, in the period since the collapse of state socialism in the USSR and Eastern Europe. It provides an interesting case study of the adoption of an outward-oriented state development policy in the context of a socialist state. The dramatic rise of urban-based tourism in Havana since 1989 is described, followed by a review of the socio-economic impacts of such tourism. These include: income generation; job creation; the rise of the informal economy, including crime and prostitution; enhanced migration to the primary city, along with spatial concentration on the coastal strip, and associated environmental impacts. In conclusion, the article considers the fact that the promotion of tourism has returned Havana to some of the conditions that existed in the city before the Socialist Revolution in 1959.

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