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Published on : Friday, April 29, 2016
Following the ease of travel restrictions implemented by the Obama administration, the number of tourist arrivals to Cuba from the US saw an increase in the first quarter of this year, said a Cuban tourist expert.
Cuban economist and tourism professor Jose Perelló, in conversation with Caribbean News webpage, said a 94 percent increase has been observed despite the fact that US citizens cannot come as tourists as they are banned to do so by US law.
Cuba was visited by 1.3 million vacationers from Spain, Italy, Germany, France and the UK over the past few months. This figure includes a large number of US visitors, who applied to licenses to travel to the island, as stipulated by the Obama administration.
Cuba intends to make tourism a strategic and major source of income for its economy, an idea expressed by President Raul Castro in his report to the Congress.
In 2015, Cuba received more than three million foreign visitors for the first time.
Along with the boom in US visitors, cruise ship companies from that country, such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Pearl Seas Cruises and Princess Cruises have already submitted proposals of itineraries with stop-overs in Havana and in other Cuban harbors.
Major US airline companies like American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest, Eastern, Frontier and United Airlines are also bidding for direct commercial flights to Cuba, which would translate into 50,000 passenger capacities a week to the island.