Cuba plots tourism revival

THE Cuban Government has set a goal of welcoming a record five million tourists during 2018 as part of its recovery plans in the wake of Hurricane Irma last year.

While the country was hit less severely than other parts of the Caribbean, September’s disaster was followed by a sharp decline in tourism that has only been compounded by new American restrictions on travel from the US.

Cuban media last month reported the country was on track to welcome two million visitors by the end of May, despite a decrease of 7% in the first three months of the year when compared to last year, and expected to overtake the 4.7 million international arrivals achieved in 2017 by the end of December.

Tourism officials said Cuba had largely recovered from the impact of Hurricane Irma and that industry was confident of a prosperous year thanks to competitive pricing in relation to other Caribbean destinations.

International arrivals had been up 20% in Cuba last year prior to Hurricane Irma, but had slipped in the last months of 2017 to finish the year with overall growth of 16.2%.

Canada remains the country’s largest source of international visitors, while recent travel trade shows held in Cuba have targeted secondary markets in France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany and Italy.