Cuba records 15 per cent increase in tourism revenue in first six months of 2016

Posted: 12-Dec-16 08:49

Cuba has recorded a 15 per cent increase in tourism revenues in the first half of 2016, compared to the same period last year. Recent figures released by the National Statistics Office reveal that tourist income rose to US$1.2 billion between January and June this year, and the number of visitors from the United States increased by around 80 per cent, following a change to travel restrictions for Americans.

Cuba records 15 per cent increase in tourism revenue in first six months of 2016

Cuba’s revenues generated by tourism increased by 15 per cent in the first six months of this year, according to new data released by the National Statistic Office. Between January and June, tourism income rose by US$1.2 billion, which was a welcome boost to the country’s unstable economy.

The Caribbean island nation also welcome an impressive influx of visitors from the United States, with approximately 80 per cent more American travellers than last year. The tourism industry in Cuba is expected to boom even more in the near future, following the reintroduction of scheduled commercial flights between the U.S and Cuba, and the return of U.S cruise ships for the first time in more than 50 years.

The total number of international travellers increased by 11.8 per cent during the first half of 2016. The majority of tourists continued to arrive from Canada, followed by Cubans returning to visit family and friends, and Americans. Until recently, the main source markets in Cuba has been Germany, Italy, France and the UK.

Occupancy levels of Cuba hotels remained below 50 per cent during this six-month period despite the increase in visitors. Experts say that this could be due to the lack of renovations being carried out on existing hotels, as the government focuses on building new hotels and resorts.

Until now, Cuba has been renowned for its uncrowded pristine beaches, colourful classic cars and “50s time warp” charm and it has attracted holidaymakers from all over the globe. Since US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro resumed diplomatic relations in December 2014 after more than 50 years of hostilities, the country has experienced a significant change as foreign investors prepare to develop new hotels, highways, golf resorts and more.

The travel embargo still prohibits Americans from travelling to Cuba as a tourist, but they can still visit the island in 12 approved categories that include religion, academic purposes, professional reasons, and cultural trips.

The first commercial scheduled flight between the U.S and Cuba in five decades kick-started a series of new services that will launch from America in the near future. U.S-based airlines that have been approved to operate new services to Cuba include American Airlines, Silver Airways and JetBlue.


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