Just as Iceland is coming to grips with overtourism, as we call it, Cuba had better get ready because an upsurge in tourism is at its very early stages there. It's almost inexplicable that the government has eased up on anti-litter enforcement at the country's otherwise beautiful beaches.
We had drinks at the Inglaterra on our recent trip to Cuba, and while the property is spectacular in terms of the historic glamor, it's going to be a long time before Cuba's infrastructure and service standards will support luxury tourism.
Havana's Jose Marti International Airport is not prepared for a rush of American tourists, so makes sense the government is hiring two experienced French companies to renovate and operate it.
No combination of cruise ships, Airbnb rentals, state-run hotels, or nuns' quarters will be enough to replace smart tourism development, which Cuba may not yet be capable of carrying out.
Savvy travelers know they can't just board a plane and fly to Cuba. But do casual tourists? They may not know all that is required, which could cause problems for airlines.
There's little question better hotels will open in Cuba. The only issue is how soon.
As demands of tourism development increase, expect to see broader changes to the labor market in Cuba.
... and the real tidal wave of tourism hasn't even started yet.
Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and United are revving their engines. Next stop, Cuba.
Cuba clearly isn't ready for prime time when it comes to tourism and infrastructure problems there will likely get worse as the tourists pour in.