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In wake of U.S.-Cuba thaw, Cuba tourism jumps 17%

Sunset along Havana's Malecon           Photo: Antonio Milena / Wikimedia


In a year that has seen a thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations and restoration of diplomatic relations, Cuban authorities report a 17% increase in tourism for the first half of 2015, even though U.S. citizens are not yet free to travel to Cuba as tourists.


While more U.S. visitors have made trips under the loosened "general license" rules issued earlier this year, the big increase mainly involves visitors from the countries that have been the heart of Cuba's tourist business: Canada, the U.K., Spain, Mexico and France. There's a sense by some analysts that part of the increase is due to a desire to see, or see again, Cuba before the eventual opening of normal tourism from the U.S. changes Cuba irrevocably.


Cuba's tourism minister told the Telegraph (UK) that Cuba is experiencing strong demand for training for the hospitality industry and new facilities, and that Cuba's plans include new hotels and facilities. “We know there are many things to do, but we are going in the right direction, gradually giving response to the demand,” he said. 


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