NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Cruise lines and air carriers could start seeing the benefits of a more open Cuba within a year, while it might take longer for hotels, according to Wedbush Securities analyst Gil Luria.
"The airlines that serve Cuba from Latin America such as Copa Holdings (CPA) would benefit from the loosening travel restrictions," Luria told TheStreet. "Also, the cruise lines that serve the Caribbean such as Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) , which would be an obvious one to add a Havana stop to gain new tourists."
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U.S. tourists could start traveling to Cuba within the year, he added, providing a boon to airlines that fly into Cuba from other Latin American countries, including Panama.
He said other companies in the travel space, such as hotels, would take longer to gain a footprint in the region.
Remittance companies also could see a more immediate impact from the thawing relations between the United States and Cuba. "One of the first things that will loosen is the ability to send money to Cuba, so this could be meaningful to companies like Western Union (WU) and Moneygram International (MGI) in the short term," he added.
Still, more tourists to Cuba could result in fewer travelers to other Caribbean islands.
"The potential expansion in US visitors [to Cuba] will not necessarily be welcomed by neighboring Caribbean countries [with] economies highly dependent on tourism flows from the U.S.," said Laurence Allan, head of Latin America analysis at IHS Country Risk in a note. "A key issue in that regard will be the operationalizing of the Cuban Law of Foreign Investment, which proposes significant benefits for foreign investors who partner with Cuban state-owned enterprises, notably including tax exemption on profits for eight years."
It remains unclear how willing American companies are to set up shop in Cuba.
"Congress can penalize companies who invest in or do business with Cuba," Allan added. "More profound improvement in bilateral relations remains a work in progress."
That risk could make the potential profits from Cuba seem less attractive.