20 Jul 2017
The idea to enhance professional development and analyze new market opportunity while networking sounded very exciting.
It seemed challenging at first but when we started putting various elements in place one at a time, RICS Destination Havana Study Tour came into being.
The main objective of this tour was to analyze the impact of the evolving economic, political and social landscape on Cuba and its impact on the country’s real estate market. To ensure 360 coverage, we included certain property visits, submarket walking tours, discussions with high-ranking government officials and presentations from international real estate experts and investors.
Out of multiple presentations and discussion forums, my personal favorite was the presentation by John Caulfield. As the Former Chief of Mission U.S. Interests Section in Havana, he has deep understanding of the real estate and construction investment environment and offers a personal link to the country and the people. He discussed the impacts of past and current US policies towards Cuba and painted a realistic picture of the present scenario. His comments also touched on the history of Soviet and Venezuelan influence and the economic boost provided by Cuban Americans who remit money to their families still living in the country.
Due to lack of funds or priority, Cuba’s existing infrastructure of residential, commercial and retail assets can use an immediate boost. This opens up an opportunity not only for the investors to be part of the growth but also for professionals in the industry. Cuba will require experts in Facility Management, maintenance, construction and property fully capable of understanding and acting under challenging conditions. Being a RICS member will be an advantage because with the global certifications and standards, these professionals will be sought after --most likely at a premium.
If you missed any session or were unable to make to this tour, #RICSCuba on Twitter carries live dialogue and our Facebook page has pictures and videos that I took.
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