Cuba expects to record 8.2 percent growth in tourism in 2011
The number of tourists who went on Cuba holidays in 2011 is expected to have increased by 8.2 per cent according to a report presented by Tourism Minister, Manuel Marrero to the Cuban Parliament with Canadians as the main visitors to the Caribbean island.
The Tourism Minister, Manuel Marrero, has presented a report to the Cuban Parliament showing that the number of tourists who visited Cuba in 2011 is expected to increase by 8.2 per cent compared to 2010.
According to Marrero, 2.7 million people took Cuba holidays last year up until November and the island was expecting to receive one million tourists from Canada before the year ended.
Preliminary data from the National Statistics Office revealed that international tourism in Cuba had increased by 7.6 percent until late November 2011, and up until that period, 2.43 million foreign tourists chose holidays in Cuba.
The Cuban Ministry of Tourism said that by the end of December 2011, more than 2.5 million foreign tourists will have visited Cuba for the eighth consecutive year.
The island nation has become the third major tourist destination in the Caribbean over the past decade despite having no visitors from the United States because of the ongoing travel embargo.
Cuba travel is now being made accessible to American tourists after U.S President Barack Obama eased restrictions on holidays to Cuba for religious, cultural, academic and educational purposes.
The President relaxed restrictions on the decades-long U.S-Cuba travel embargo in January last year and many airlines and ferry companies have already commenced charter services between airports and ports in the U.S to Cuba.
New Cuba hotels and restaurants are opening up across provincial towns across the Caribbean island in preparation for the predicted influx of tourists from America.
Last year, Leisure Canada signed an agreement with UK-based PGA which will allow the Toronto-based company to use PGA's brand across its development of three new luxury hotels in Cuba that will be located in new golf resorts.
Popular holiday destinations in Cuba include Varadero which is home to 20 km of pristine beaches and upscale hotels and resorts; Villa Clara that boasts a northern coast dotted with an array of cays with white sand beaches, coral reefs and thriving nature parks; and Havana, the country's capital city that oozes culture, history, traditions and Cuban charm.
The majority of visitors to Cuba's arrive from Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, Argentina, Russia and Mexico.
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