American travellers visiting Cuba increases by 36 percent from January to May
The recent changes to the U.S-Cuba embargo have led to a 36 per cent increase in visits by Americans to Cuba over the past 5 months. The rise is in the number of Americans with no family ties to the Caribbean island, many of whom have been travelling to the country via Mexico to avoid the tourism restrictions.
Statistics provided by a professor from University of Havana to Associated Press have revealed that the number of Americans visiting Cuba have increased by 36 per cent over recent months.
The numbers show that between January and May this year, more Americans with no family ties to Cuba have been visiting the island, with many entering via Mexico to avoid the U.S tourism restrictions.
Jose Luis Perello Cabrera from the university provided figures that showed that between 1st January and 9th May, 2015, 51,458 Americans visited Cuba, compared to 37,459 during the same period in 2014.
A total of 38,476 visitors flew directly to the island from the U.S and another 12,982 Americans visited via third countries such as Mexico, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and Jamaica.
David Perez from New York travelled to Cuba last month through Cancun. He commented:
"I had just always wanted to go to Cuba and I decided now was the time."
General tourism, sun and beach holidays to Cuba are still restricted but U.S travellers can travel to the island through "people to people" programmes organised by tour operators and charter companies in the U.S. Tessie Aral from ABC Charters, explained:
"The person calling us needs to tell me, ‘I'm going in support of the Cuban people, or professional research, or a family visit,' or any one of the 12 allowed categories. After that, all they do is sign a certification."
While general tourism is banned, many travellers are still finding loopholes in travelling to Cuba by saying that they are visiting for cultural purposes and there is almost no active enforcement of this ban under the Obama administration.
Cuba has recorded a 14 per cent rise in arrivals from tourists from all around the world between January and early May, compared to the same period in 2014.
Cuba is a beautiful island nation located in the Caribbean Sea, east of Mexico and south of the United States. The communist country is rich in political history and boasts some of the world's most magnificent natural landscapes such as white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons, and the world's second largest barrier reef.
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