Cuba tour agencies to contract with private sector

Posted: 10/09/13 at 8:35 pm EDT

HAVANA (AP) -- The Cuban government has authorized state-run tourism concerns to do business with the small but growing private sector.

The measure could be a boon for Cuban entrepreneurs who rent rooms in their homes, run restaurants or offer guided tours

Previously, state-run tour operators were supposed to deal only with government hotels, guides and eateries.

The new law stands to increase independent operators' ability to tap into the flow of coveted hard currency carried by travelers.

It was published Tuesday in the government's Official Gazette. It is the latest step in President Raul Castro's economic and social reform program begun in 2010.

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