Cuba visitors up a record 16 per cent year-on-year

Posted: 15-Mar-15 18:36

Since the announcement that US-Cuba diplomatic relations would be normalised, official figures from the island show that even more tourists than last year - perhaps ever - are visiting the island. Even though tourism is a boon for the country's economy, it's surprisingly not the top-billing draw for international visitors.

Cuba visitors up a record 16 per cent year-on-year

Following the historic announcement in December 2014 that US-Cuban diplomatic relations would be normalised, Cuban officials from Cuba's National Statistics Office (ONE) revealed last week that tourism to Cuba had gone up by 16% year on year, according to figures collated in January of this year.

Figures also showed that visitor numbers topped three million for the first time in 2014, so this year could feasibly see that figure rise even higher.

US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro made the surprise announcement after an embargo lasting half a century.

The ONE also noted that Cuba was more popular than ever with German, British, French and Italian tourists. Italy, in particular, is being courted by the island's tourist industry, with appearances at its tourist fair and a guest of honour position at the FITCuba tourism fair, to take place this year in the Jardines del Rey.

Visits from Canadians were up 15.5 per cent on last year, and made up nearly half of the tourist visitors to the island - which was 371,160, according to the ONE. Americans, however, are still not allowed to visit purely as tourists under the official guidelines, revised under the normalisation process.

Obama has eased the restrictions to allow Americans to visit Cuba under 12 categories – without needing permission first or a licence – including family visits, research, journalism, education, religion or cultural exchange.

That hasn't stopped them visiting in ever-increasing numbers. Last year, 66,195 Americans went to Cuba; in January of this year,the number was 75,435.

Despite bringing in over US $1.89 billion, tourism isn't the largest source of income for Cubans. That happens to be professional services, particularly doctors; travelling to Cuba for medical reasons is officially not allowed, but Cubans themselves have observed that anyone visiting family or taking holiday may schedule treatments while there.


Popular Holidays in cuba

OUR EXCLUSIVE DEALS AND LATEST OFFERS

Best Value

From £599 per person
villa pinares de mayari

Villa Pinares De Mayari

4.0 stars

Beautifully perched on the panoramic Mensura Hill, surrounded by striking greenery, this blessed and secluded natural...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £619 per person
villa mirador de mayabe

Villa Mirador De Mayabe

2.0 stars

This enchanting villa hotel is surrounded by exuberant tropical plants and is perfectly located in a high point towering...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
sercotel club cayo guillermo

Sercotel Club Cayo Guillermo

3.0 stars

The perfect haven for lovers of nature in its purest state, the Villa Cojimar hotel sits in an idyllic location amidst...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
club amigo atlantico guardalavaca

Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca

3.0 stars

Get away to one of Cuba's best kept secrets for a dream holiday at Club Amigo Atlantico. Guardalavaca is known to host...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
tryp cayo coco

Tryp Cayo Coco

4.0 stars

The perfect beach holiday awaits you the all-inclusive Tryp Cayo Coco hotel, where non-stop entertainment and utmost...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £729 per person
memories holguin

Memories Holguin

4.0 stars

Enjoy a perfect beach setting while you unwind in the historic sands of the all-inclusive Memories Holguin. A short...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation

More deals


Explore cuba your way

Tailor made cuba holidays

For those who prefer to travel at their own pace or to explore places not included in the brochure itineraries, we have years of experience at organising tailor-made holidays.

Create the perfect trip with the help of our specialists

Our expert tour consultants will be pleased to suggest ideas to complement your own and to organise the most appropiate programme to suit your interests, time and budget.

Call 0207 644 1600
to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.

If you would like a member of our team to contact you back, please click here Contact us