Cuba’s travel industry takes 6 percent dip
HAVANA – According to a Cuban tourism expert there was a drop in Cuba’s tourism this year because of the travel restrictions imposed by the U.S. President Donald Trump and hurricanes.
So far, the country received three million tourists, it is noted that this level was hit 16 days later than that in 2017.
Jose Luis Perello, the Faculty of Tourism at the University of Havana and tourism expert mentioned a decrease of 6.6 percent in tourist arrivals till May as compared to 2017.
The drop was majorly due to the devastating hurricanes last year and the stringent travel restrictions by the Trump government.
Entry to Cuba was made more difficult due to the U.S. measures of prohibiting citizen’s trips to Cuba. This was majorly for tourism and through the use of ‘people to people’ visas.
The U.S airlines business went down, the direct established commercial links with Havana and other Cuban cities after the U.S.-Cuban relations during Obama’s rule.
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According to a study, 85 percent of the companies reported a significant decrease in bookings, increase of cancellations during the second half of last year.
Rafael Betancourt, a Cuban professor involved in the study mentioned that there was a seven percent reduction in total number of foreign visitors to Cuba. Around 620,000 U.S. tourists visited Cuba in 2017.
There were restriction issues by the Trump administration in June 2017 for the ‘people to people’ visas. The tourists were obliged to be accompanied by a U.S. based guide.
Tourism was an important industry for Cuban economy and since 2012 the foreign tourist’s numbers grew at an average of 13 percent annually.
However, 2017’s record visitor number of 4.69 million might be beaten in 2018 according to the Ministry of Tourism as around 5 million tourists are expected to visit Cuba.