Cuba Receives 4 Million Tourists in 2016

December 31, 2016 |
Tourists in Havana.  Photo: Juan Suarez

Tourists in Havana. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES – Cuba registered four million foreign tourists arriving this year, a record number that exceeds by six percent the forecasts of 3.7 million visitors by 2016, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

Despite the encouraging data on tourism, Cuba’s economy had a negative growth in 2016.

The number of travelers to Cuba surpassed by 13 percent the arrivals of 2015 thanks to the increase of the visitors from the United States and Europe.

Between January and July of this year, a total of 136,913 US citizens arrived in Cuba, which means 79.7 percent more than in the first half of 2015, according to the government’s National Bureau of Statistics and Information (Onei).

Canada remains the leading emitter of tourists to the island and other major countries besides the USA are Germany, France, Italy, Britain and Spain.

Tourism is the second largest source of income in Cuba after the commercialization of professional services abroad.

In the first half of 2016, Cuba received revenues of 1.2 billion dollars from tourism, representing a growth of 15 percent over the same period of 2015, according to the latest data released by Onei.

At present, Cuba has 65,000 hotel rooms and more than 17,000 rooms in private homes that rent. To cope with the growth of tourist arrivals, the Cuban Government plans to build 108,000 new rooms by 2030.

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  • bbenhamid

    Tourism may help bring in some cash to improve the crumbling infrastructure throughout the land.

    • Moses Patterson

      Not likely. At least not anytime soon. The increases in tourism revenues, in the short term, are being kept within the tourism sector to reinvest in maintaining and, when possible, improving tourism facilities.

    • Griffin

      Despite the increase in tourism, Cuba’s economy shrunk by 0.9% last year. It will take a lot more than a cruise ship of Americans to lift the economy out of the misery which 57 years of Castro’s socialist dictatorship has rendered.

      This line is hilarious: “To cope with the growth of tourist arrivals, the Cuban Government plans to build 108,000 new rooms by 2030.”

      If current demographic trends continue, by 2030, over 30% of the Cuban population will be over 60 years old. Who’s going to work at these Cuban hotels?

      • emagicmtman

        Your “ageism” is showing, Griffin! After “retiring” at age 66 in 2009, I worked May through October as a guest services agent at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel at Yellowstone National Park, and It was very demanding work. Not only did I keep up with my younger colleagues, some of whom were 1/3rd my age, but I outlasted several who, due to drug, alcohol or mental health problems, didn’t last the term of their contract. Now, almost a decade later, I’m teaching more classes than I’ve ever, and my headmaster keeps assigning me more. I think those over 60 will have no trouble staffing these additional 108,000 hotel rooms, as long as they have a strong work ethic and their health holds out. Moreover, I feel that by throwing yourself into work that you like after retiring actually improves your health.