The announcement that Cuba welcomed three million foreign visitors this year until August 9, undoubtedly attracts the attention of tour operators and travel agents who see the island as a significant and safe tourist destination.
The report published by the Cuban Tourism Ministry (MINTUR) corroborates the latest opinions by experts in saying that the local leisure industry is recovering despite decreases earlier announced.
The storms that hit the country at the end of 2017, anti-Cuba campaigns and other issues well-known by tourism industry officials and executives led to a decline in tourists arrivals; however, the sector continues to be very dynamic.
Upon revealing that the country welcomed tree million foreign visitors, MINTUR also envisaged better results for the upcoming winter season (November-April).
Tourist arrivals have continued to increase in 2018 despite campaigns organized and led by the U.S. government to discourage U.S. citizens from traveling to the island, the Cuban ministry reiterated.
The main issuing markets of tourists to Cuba are Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Spain, Mexico, Argentina and Chile, in that order, the MINTUR report reads.
There are certain aspects that keep Cuba's tourism afloat: people's safety, natural attractions and environmental protection, infrastructure and, above all, its people.
During the 38th International Tourism Fair, FITCuba 2018, held in May in the keys north of central Cuba, the authorities disclosed a series of statistics that anticipate the increasing trend of the sector.
Cuba currently has 69,041 hotel rooms. As many as 63 percent of them are four and five star-category, and 74 percent are located by the beach.
A total of 110,416 Cubans are presently working in the tourist industry-41.2 percent are women and 48 percent are under 45 years old.
Last year, 4,689,896 foreign tourists visited the island, representing an 11.6 percent increase, but a 26 percent rise had been recorded in the first eight months of that year. That pace slowed down with the arrival of Hurricane Irma in September.
A total of 17 cruise ship companies are operating in Cuba, with 25 liners. The first quarter of 2018 witnessed a 28.6 percent rise in that modality.
Moreover, 70 airlines are flying to Cuba from 73 major world cities while 27 joint ventures are operating in the country with more than 5,000 hotel rooms, and the investment portfolio features 140 projects. / PL