A vintage car drives past a historic building undergoing renovation in Havana, Cuba May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer
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Towering cranes dot the Havana skyline as communist-run Cuba races to build luxury hotels, amid indignation among some residents and concern that U.S. President Donald Trump might reverse a detente that fueled the tourist boom. Swiss-based Kempinski Hotels SA will inaugurate its Gran Hotel Manzana in the heart of the capital Wednesday, billing it as Cuba's first true luxury hotel.Farther down the iconic Paseo de Prado boulevard toward the Caribbean Sea, workers are developing two other sites into luxury hotels to be operated respectively by Spain's Iberostar and France's Accor SA, the largest hotel group in Europe.Cuban Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero said in May that more than 4.2 million tourists were expected this year, up from 4 million in 2016 . He said the country was adding 2,000 hotel rooms a year to its stock of 65,000 hotel rooms and 21,000 homes renting to tourists.Since the country opened up to tourism in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union, Havana reinvested much of its revenue in renovating historic buildings, from Art Deco hotels to colonial palaces."They have returned the sparkle to part of Old Havana," said Abraham Rodriguez, 45 . He attended a school in the building that now houses the Gran Hotel Manzana and recalls how the classrooms flooded when it rained.
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