Cuba will foster the development of its tourist marinas with facilities for recreational vessels, according to a decree approved by the government and published on Tuesday in the official gazette.

The facilities are the result of a new regulation signed by President Raul Castro aimed at organizing the exploitation of maritime-port services at the country's marinas, one of Cuba's efforts to develop its tourist sector.

"Recreational boats on pleasure cruises will be able to remain in the national territory for up to five years," the regulation states, adding that "this period will be able to be extended by the marina."

Another measure approved by the government is the creation of a National Nautical Commission, which will coordinate all policies pertaining to nautical tourism.

Along with projects related to gold and nature tourism, the development of marinas is one of Cuba's efforts to diversify its offerings in the tourist sector, currently the country's No. 2 source of hard currency.

Along those lines, August saw the inauguration of a new hotel complex at the oceanside resort community of Varadero. It will be administered by Spain's Melia Group and includes a marina with the capacity to dock 1,300 yachts and recreational boats. EFE