Cuban media have published new data on the inflow of American tourists to the island. According to the statistics, about 620 thousand Americans visited Cuba, despite the tightened U.S. sanctions. This is an increase of 217% compared to 2016. The U.S. are thus the second biggest source market after Canada. In total, tourism in Cuba recorded 4.25 million visitors last year, an increase of 19%.
Since the reorientation of the U.S. Cuba policy last June, the tone between the two countries has worsened again. New sanctions against the somewhat loose tourism regime with Cuba were introduced. Nevertheless, many Americans took the opportunity and boosted tourism in Cuba.
It was not just purely tourist visits. There was also an increase of visits of exiled Cubans in 2017 to 454 thousand people. This is a 38% increase than in 2016. Canadians remain on top among foreign visitors, but the Americans and Cuban exiles are now in second place. Every fifth visitor to Cuba today has US citizenship.
In the “traditional” source markets of tourism in Cuba, there were increases in France, Italy, Russia, Spain, Argentina and Brazil. Above all, Russia registered a strong increase of 68% with 100 thousand visitors. Despite the damage caused by hurricane Irma in October, Cuba was able to restore the tourism infrastructure in a short time and experienced a dynamic development in the second half of the year, according to the Minister of Trade Manuel Marrero.