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Cash-strapped Cuba looks to boost tourism with cruises

  • 29-Dec-10 13:42
  • Cuba
  • Sun Sentinel Travel Blog

As the number of travellers booking Cuba holidays increases, tourism officials are hopeful that they will reach their target of 2.7 million visitors next year as they set out plans to encourage visitors to the region on cruise ships.

Cash-strapped Cuba looks to boost tourism with cruises

Cuba goverment officials are hopeful about the future of the island's tourism as the number of travellers taking Cuba holidays during 2010 is expected to reach 2.5 million.

The numbers are up four percent in comparison to the same time last year and the cash-strapped Caribbean country is optimistic that they will see tourist arrivals increase even further in 2011 with a target of 2.7 million.

To help lure travellers to the region, tourism officials are implementing plans to encourage people to book Cuba holidays on cruise ships.

The announcement comes just as Tropicana Cruises Ltd reveals that it will be providing a luxury cruise in Cuba on the Russian ship, Adriana. The ship will leave from Cuba's capital city, Havana, stopping off in Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth), Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Ocho Rios in Jamaica, Santiago de Cuba and Cayo Saetia in Holguin.

Despite the number of visitors to the region on the rise, Cuba has not seen the spending habits of tourists grow at the same pace. Many Cuba hotels are still not meeting occupancy level targets and it seems that cash-strapped travellers are tightening their purse strings during their travels.

During the global economic crisis last year, tourist spending on the island reduced by approximately 11 percent. In September 2010, spending increase by 3.5 percent but this was still behind the four percent increase in arrivals.

Cuba relies on travellers from Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany and Italy. Despite the communist-led country being located so close to the United States, the decades-long travel embargo is still in place which forbids the travel of U.S travellers to Cuba unless they have family or are working in the region as researchers, musicians, or food exporters.

Tourism officials in Cuba are hoping that together with more cruise liners visiting the country and the development of golf resorts and vacations homes from foreign partners, tourism will boost by a further 10 percent in 2011.

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