HAVANA, Cuba, Wednesday June 4, 2014 – While some Caribbean countries continue to struggle to keep their tourism numbers in positive territory, business is booming in Cuba, with the communist country seeing a rise of about five percent in the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2013.
According to the National Statistics and Information Office (ONEI), the Spanish-speaking island welcomed 1.28 million tourists between January and April this year, a figure that exceeded by 60,804 the number of visitors during that period last year.
In April alone, Cuba welcomed 287,103 foreign visitors, up four percent year-on-year.
Canadians continue to outnumber all other visitors to Cuba with 623,337 arrivals, followed by Germans with 55,238, according to ONEI, which noted that British, French and Italian tourists were also at the forefront of visitor numbers.
In 2013, Cuba attracted 2,852,572 tourists to its shores, more than a million of them from Canada. That number was just 150,000 short of the three million goal that tourism authorities are aiming for this year.
Significantly boosting the number of tourist arrivals to Cuba last year were visitors from Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Russia and Venezuela.
Tourism is Cuba’s second leading source of foreign revenue, with income of some $1.8 billion in 2013, most of it for accommodation and food, according to official figures.