Despite the apparent difficulties, Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International and vice chair of the PEC, said he is excited about the opportunities in Cuba. Last week, the U.S. government gave Starwood Hotels and Marriott the approval to do business in Cuba.
"This is a great step for the industry," Sorenson said. "We have discussions underway with a few different Cuban partners. Now with the U.S. government permission, we're optimistic we can get a deal done fairly quickly."
Starwood has a deal with Cuban partners to manage two hotels and is working on one for a third, slated to open in the next year or so. For Marriott, which has offered to merge with Starwood, possible linkups could include management, franchising or operating deals with the Cuban government, Sorenson said.
"We certainly know American travelers want to come to Cuba," Sorenson said.
— CNBC's Anita Balakrishnan contributed to this report.