Cuba receives 61.2 per cent increase in U.S travellers in first half of 2016

Posted: 28-Oct-16 10:52

Cuba has recorded a significant increase in tourists from the United States in the first half of 2016. Since President Obama’s administration launched special licences for Americans to travel to the Caribbean island, more U.S travellers have taken advantage. In the first six months of 2016, a total of 2,147,919 international visitors were recorded, which is an 11.7 per cent increase 11.7 percent compared to the same period in 2015.

Cuba receives 61.2 per cent increase in U.S travellers in first half of 2016

Cuba is continuing to see a rise in tourists from the United States, according to a report from the National Bureau of Statistics and Information (ONEI). In the first six months of 2016, the island recorded a 61.2 per cent increase in American visitors.

Since President Obama’s administration approved special licences that allow American residents to travel to Cuba for the first time in more than 50 year, more people have been taking advantage of the opportunity. The United States has since become the third-largest source market for Cuba.

American travellers are not allowed to visit Cuba for general tourism, but they are allowed to visit without permission for travel under 12 categories. These include travelling for journalistic, religious, academic, educational, professional, sports and humanitarian reasons, or to visit family members living in Cuba.

The first scheduled flight in more than 50 years travelled to Cuba this summer, marking a moment in history since the travel and trade embargo was enforced by the U.S in 1961. The JetBlue flight departed from Fort Lauderdale and travelled to Santa Clara, allowing direct access to Cuba for Americans. American Airlines will also soon be launching scheduled commercial flights to various destinations in Cuba.

Until now, Americans visiting Cuba would have to travel via charter flights where they would have to arrive at the airport four hours in advance of their flights, and there would be long queues and expensive luggage fees. With the launch of scheduled flights, passengers can look forward to more affordable direct flights to the island.

In the first half of this year, more than 2,147,900 international visitors were recorded in Cuba, which is an 11.7 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2015. Canada continues to be the main source market, followed by the overseas Cuban community, and Europe. The number of German tourists in Cuba in the first half of this year increased by 69.2 percent. This is said to have been helped by the launch of new flights from Air Berlin, Condor and Eurowings.

As Cuba becomes an increasingly popular destination, the government is working to improve the country’s infrastructure to cope with the influx of new visitors. Plans include the expansion of main airports, new highways, and the development of brand new hotels and resorts that will be jointly owned by foreign investors for the first time in decades.


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