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Tampa could gain commercial activity from new Cuba relations

While most of the country debates the announcement that the U.S. will relax restrictions on diplomacy, travel and commerce with Cuba as a matter of principle, the news will have very practical ramifications for businesses and individuals living in Tampa. Many experts say the Tampa Bay area stands to benefit greatly from an influx of capital, people and new avenues of doing business.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that due to its large Cuban-American population and proximity, the city may become one of the most important trade conduits with Cuba. Let us count the ways:

Travel. With an ambitious project to redesign the Tampa airport, flights to and from the island nation could turn it into a major hub of passage from Cuba to the United States. Since flights to the country resumed in 2011, more than 150,000 people have traveled on Cuba-Tampa flights, and the route generates $1 million in revenue each year. Expect those numbers to rise now that embargoes have been lifted. 

Tourism. People won't just fly through Tampa: They may fly to Tampa. With a host of offerings for international tourists and many multilingual residents, Tampa could be a site for stateside vacations and getaways. 

Trade. The busy cargo route will likely become much busier, according to experts. "Port Tampa Bay has been preparing for the possibility of open trade with Cuba for years," said Paul Anderson, the CEO of the port. "When we receive word from the president and Congress that the embargo has been officially lifted, we will look forward to being a major gateway for people and cargo, to and from Cuba, for years to come."

Thought leadership. Florida is home to some of the foremost researchers in marine ecosystems, and for years collaboration with experts in Cuba was hampered. New policies will make synergy easier. 

As a new avenue of commercial development, the diplomatic shift could bring business and increased interest to the area, another reason to explore options for office space in Tampa

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