Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) said Sunday that the the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury has approved Marriott International's application to pursue a business transaction in Cuba, and that the company is in discussions to develop a hospitality relationship with potential partners.
The announcement was made during President Obama's historic trip to Cuba, marking the first time in more than 80 years a sitting U.S. president has visited the country. Marriott President and Chief Executive Officer Arne Sorenson is traveling with U.S. Commerce Secretary Pritzker during the President's visit to Cuba.
Marriott's objectives in Cuba include entering the hospitality sector with Marriott brands, providing hospitality training for Cuban nationals, helping to generate new economic opportunities for businesses supplying the hospitality industry, and as a corporate citizen, supporting opportunities for youth, women and other communities in Cuba.
Mr. Sorenson said, "We are gratified to receive permission from the U.S. government to pursue business opportunities in Cuba. While there is still work to do before any agreement is reached, we are actively pursuing relationships in the hospitality sector. We have long been convinced that with the right frameworks in place, new economic opportunities, including dramatically expanded travel, abound in Cuba. These could deliver real benefits to the Cuban people and also have the effect of bringing both Americans and Cubans closer together."
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