Cuba welcomes increase in holidaymakers in March

Posted: 20-Apr-16 09:34

After a successful run of events last month with a concert from the Rolling Stones and a visit by U.S President Barrack Obama, Cuba's visitor numbers soared during March. The island nation received a 14 per cent increase in tourist arrivals last month, compared to the year before, and this year, the government aims to beat its record of 3.52 million visitor arrivals in 2015.

Cuba welcomes increase in holidaymakers in March

Last month saw a number of milestone events in Cuba with a free concert by the Rolling Stones in Havana, and a visit from U.S President Barrack Obama, the first U.S president to visit Cuba in more than 90 years. Cuba’s tourism industry continues to boom and in March, the number of visitor arrivals increased by 14 per cent compared to March in 2015. According to Alexis Trujillo, the deputy tourism minister of Cuba, March recorded a year-on-year increase of 175,200 international arrivals.

Last year, Cuba received a record-breaking 3.52 million visitor arrivals, which was more than 15.9 per cent increase compared to 2014, and this year, the Cuban government expects to surpass those figures. Mr Trujillo said the government has launched:

“... actions aimed at a competitive tourism product starting from constructing new hotels in the country in addition to improving services.”

New hotel development is underway with new properties in Havana, Cuba’s capital, the popular coastal resort of Varadero, and the island’s northern keys. Last month, the U.S. Treasury Department granted applications to Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International to operate hotels in Cuba.

Starwood is looking to commence operations on the island by the end of the year and it is planning to re-brand the 83-room Hotel Inglaterra in Havana and make it a Starwood's Luxury Collection hotel, and also transform the 186-room Hotel Quinta Avenida into its Four Points by Sheraton brand.

Travel agents have been are urging British travellers to visit Cuba as soon as possible to beat the American crowds expected later this year, and enjoy the authentic Cuban cigars, mojitos, classic cars, swaying palms trees, and uncrowded beaches. More than 10 million Americans are expected to visit the island of Cuba in the Caribbean every year if and when the 55-year-long travel embargo is lifted.

At the moment, general tourism and sunshine holidays to Cuba are still restricted, but U.S travellers can travel to the island through people to people programmes and trips in 12 categories organised by tour operators and charter companies in the U.S.


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