Canadians and Britons give a boost to Cuba holidays
According to Granma newspaper, tourism in Cuba increased by 3% this year when compared against the same period in 2009, mainly thanks to arrivals by Canadian and British tourists, which led the rising figures.
Proving that the popularity of Cuba holidays shows no sign of slowing down, tourist visits to the island rose 3% this year from the same period a year earlier, led by arrivals from Canada and the U.K., Cuban state newspaper Granma reported.
A total of two million tourists took holidays in Cuba this year, the Cuban newspaper Granma revealed. Tourism to Cuba rose 3.5% last year to 2.4 million visitors, Jose Manuel Bisbe, commercial director for the Tourism Ministry, said.
The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday that a bill in the U.S. Congress that would lift a 47-year ban on most Americans visiting the island may overwhelm Cuban resorts with tourists if passed.
Canadians and Europeans may seek other Caribbean destinations if hotel capacity isn't sufficient to accommodate them, the IMF said.
"Long-term competition from Cuba would depend in part on whether Cuban policies fostered expansion of the tourism industry, including reducing the high travel costs now associated with tourism in Cuba," the IMF said.
Tourism revenue in Cuba increased 3.9 per cent to $815 million US in the first half of 2010, according to the country's statistics office. The island's economy is experiencing its deepest slump since the former Soviet Union withdrew support in the 1990s.
Mining, sugar and tobacco exports dropped last year, according to Cuba's statistics office. Those industries and tourism provide most of the country's foreign exchange.
In August, trying to give a boost to Cuba holidays and invest further in the travel and tourism sector, Cuba eased property laws, extending lease periods to 99 years from 50 years for foreign investors in an effort to build up tourism infrastructure and draw more visitors.
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, after the 2nd November 2010 legislative elections, may draft a final version of legislation to lift the travel ban, committee chairman Howard Berman of California said in a statement released 29th September 2010.
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