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Posted: March 20, 2016

Plans develop for the first US-based hotels in Cuba in nearly 60 years

HAVANA, CUBA - SEPTEMBER 4: An exterior view of the Santa Isabel Hotel (est. 1867) and the Plaza de Armas, a main tourist square, on September 4, 2004 in old Havana, Cuba. The Plaza de Armas has been carefully restored to maintain the original 16th century Spanish colonial architecture and atmosphere. The square is the oldest in Havana, originally named
Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photograph
HAVANA, CUBA - SEPTEMBER 4: An exterior view of the Santa Isabel Hotel (est. 1867) and the Plaza de Armas, a main tourist square, on September 4, 2004 in old Havana, Cuba. The Plaza de Armas has been carefully restored to maintain the original 16th century Spanish colonial architecture and atmosphere. The square is the oldest in Havana, originally named "Plaza de la Iglesia" (Church Square), but received its present name when the Spanish governorship relocated to Havana in the 16th century, and the Spanish military began to use it for practices, parades, and other military events. (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photography/Getty Images)

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            Plans develop for the first US-based hotels in Cuba in nearly 60 years
HAVANA, CUBA - AUGUST 03: Hotel Inglaterra on August 03, 2007 in Havana, Cuba. Hotel Inglaterra is the oldest hotel in Cuba and one of the most classic hotels in Havana. It is located at Paseo del Prado between San Rafael and San Miguel. The Hotel was founded on December 23, 1875 and built in neoclassic style. Winston Churchill stayed there while visiting Cuba as a military observer during the Spanish-Cuban war in 1895. (Photo by Athanasios Gioumpasis/Getty Images)

By Bell Johnson

Video includes clips from Bloomberg, the White House and Al Jazeera and images from Hotel Inglaterra, Hotel Quinta Avenida, Hotel Santa Isabel and Getty Images.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts has signed hotel deals in Cuba — the first American-based company to do so in nearly 60 years. 

>> Read more trending stories  

Three historic hotels are part of the expansion: Hotel Inglaterra, Hotel Quinta Avenida and Hotel Santa Isabel, which will all be undergoing renovations and rebranding later this year. 

Currently, hotels in Cuba are state-run, but with the new merger, Starwood is planning to rebrand the hotels and staff them with locals. 

The deals come just as Cuba is expecting an influx of tourists from the U.S. Last year, the country received over 3.5 million tourists from around the world.  

Since the diplomatic thaw between Cuba and the U.S., Cuban officials and tourist agencies have been worried about having enough space to house tourists.

Americans still can't get tourist visas, but with more round trip flights, other companies are looking to invest in the island's industries. 

American and Cuban officials signed an agreement on Feb. 16 to resume commercial flights between the two countries.

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