Obama's new Cuba policy depends partly on hotel hand towels, growth of private guest houses

Industries Associated Press

The success of President Barack Obama's new Cuba policy depends partly on hotel hand towels.

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Not just hand towels, in fact, but working air conditioning, breakfast waffles and the hundreds of other amenities that American tourists will demand when they flood to Cuba thanks to the loosening of travel restrictions on Friday.

U.S.-based Cuba travel companies say there's simply no more room in the handful of top-end Cuban hotels that meet international standards.

That means many are likely to turn to one of the most vibrant parts of Cuba's small, new private business sector: family-run guest houses that offer independent sources of private income to thousands of Cubans.

They're just the sort of people Obama says the policy is designed to help.