EFEMiami

The increasing number of tourists heading to Cuba, especially U.S. travelers, has highlighted the gaps in the island's tourism infrastructure, The Havana Consulting Group said in an article published Monday.

The significant hike in the number of tourists traveling to the communist island "is affecting Cuba's tourist infrastructure," which is "at its peak capacity," said Emilio Morales, the president of the Miami-based HCG.

"The impact has been not only in the lodging capacity, but it's also hit logistics, transportation, the distribution of food and other items that are needed to attend to hundreds of thousands of visitors," Morales emphasized in the article that appeared on the HCG Web site.

He said that the study detected "scarcity of products that are critical in attending to not only the tourist market, but to domestic consumers," including chicken and Cuban beer.

The lack of chicken is such that, of 25 stores that were checked, there was absolutely none of the meat in 12 of them.

All these deficiencies send a "very clear signal that domestic production cannot satisfy the growing demand (in) the market," the article says.

To this worrying situation, the article continues, must be added the absence of a wholesale market that "allows private businesses with licenses for lodging, preparation and sale of food to supply all these products."

If this situation has had an impact of this kind on "strategic sectors of the Cuban economy," Morales asked, "what would happen with the potential arrival (in Cuba) of cruise ships and ferrys, along with the increase in tourists that is expected for 2016?"

Finally, Morales said, there is evidence that "Cuba needs big investments in infrastructure."