Big increase in number of U.S. travellers taking Cuba holidays in 2010
Over 1000 travellers from the United States are enjoying Cuba holidays every day since President, Barack Obama lifted the ban on Cuban-Americans visiting their families and homes and loosened restrictions on travel for professionals and academics.
The number of U.S travellers taking Cuba holidays has significantly increased this year, with 1000 travellers visiting the Caribbean region every day, thanks to the loosened restrictions of a 50 year embargo.
In 2009 President Barack Obama lifted restrictions on Cuba-Americans visiting their families and homes and travellers who were visiting the region for cultural, academic, religious and other professional reasons.
A U.S trade embargo has been in place for nearly fifty years which forbids travellers from the United States from visiting the region or taking holidays in Cuba. Though the restrictions were loosened last year by the President’s administration, a full decision on lifting the ban completely has yet to be passed by U.S Congress, and looks unlikely to change anytime in the near future.
Charter companies from the United States believe that the increase in travellers, most of who are of Cuban origin, has been down to the lifted restrictions.
President of Marazul Charters, Armando Garcia, said: "There is a huge increase this year compared with 2009. Through October around 265,000 have travelled. November and December are the peak months, so we expect 330,000 will go to Cuba on direct flights from the United States this year."
Because there are no regular scheduled flights to Cuba from the United States, despite being just an hour apart form each other, many of the travellers have been arriving on their Cuba holidays or official travel via Mexico and the Bahamas in attempts to get around the travel ban and because it is a more affordable route.
A source from the U.S State Department said: "We estimate the total (visitors from the U.S. to Cuba) for the year will be more than 400,000."
Reports show that the number of travellers visiting Cuba in 2009 was 2.4 million, with the largest number of tourists arriving from Canada, followed by Great Britain and Spain.
Havana Airport receives flights from the U.S and the expansions to the airport terminal are expected to be completed by Christmas allowing double capacity.
Many local businesses are welcoming the boost in tourist arrivals, particularly Cuba hotels that are benefiting from the increase in demand for guests rooms.
Protestors and supports of the travel embargo are optimistic that the Obama’s administration will loosen remaining restrictions in place, opening up the gateway for sports, cultural, artistic, music and religious events.
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