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Cuba celebrates record-breaking three million visitors in 2014

Cuba's tourist industry has broken a record after receiving its highest number of tourist arrivals ever in 2014. The island nation received more than three million visitors last year, and 2015 looks set to be even greater after the Caribbean country recorded a 16 per cent increase in visitors in January.

Cuba celebrates record-breaking three million visitors in 2014

Cuba's travel and tourism sector is celebrating record-breaking visitor numbers after it received more than three million tourists in 2014.

This year is already off to a great start for Cuba after the island nation received 371,160 visitors in January, a 16 per cent increase compared to the same month last year.

More than 51,000 more tourists travelled to the island in January with the majority visiting from Canada, followed by Germany, UK, France, Italy, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, and Russia.

The country also saw an increase in travellers from Poland, Switzerland, Chile, China and Austria.

The cruise industry in Cuba has also seen impressive results with a huge 76 per cent increase in the number of port calls and cruise passengers just in the month of January alone.

Cuba is an island country in the Caribbean Sea which has become the third major tourist destination in the Caribbean over the past decade despite having no tourists from the United States due to the travel embargo since 1962.

Havana is the capital city of Cuba and it is rich in history and culture. The city boasts an array of tourist hotspots including the Malecon, a promenade that runs along the main streets of Havana and offers beautiful views of the bay; the Catedral de San Cristobal; the maritime museum, Castillo de la Real Fuerza; the Old Town, a UNESCO site with restored buildings and the tourist square, Plaza de Armas.

Varadero Beach is a popular tourist destination that is located in the province of Matanzas on the Hicacos Peninsula and is home to 20 km of pristine beaches and upscale hotels and resorts. Villa Clara boasts a northern coast dotted with an array of cays with white sand beaches, coral reefs and thriving nature parks, while the Jardines del Rey is a popular spot for scuba diving and snorkelling activities.

Travel restrictions for U.S residents have recently been relaxed by President Obama's administration. While tourism has not yet been approved as a reason to visit Cuba, American residents can visit the island for educational, religious, academic and cultural and family purposes across 12 categories, and licences for these trips are no longer required.

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