Cuba is reaping the benefits of its renewed diplomatic ties with the United States. The country will reportedly conclude 2015 with a record arrivals of foreign visitors, has reached more than 3.1 million as of Nov. 30.
In a report with Cuba Headlines, the country is also consolidating to be a destination for cruise ships, with more than 20,000 passengers in 2015. This was a 17.6 percent increase in figures from the same period in 2014. Out of these numbers, 147, 401 visitors reportedly came from the United States.
According to Mashable, Cuba’s National Statistics and Information Office said that Canada accounts for the most foreign travelers in Cuba. The next largest groups reportedly come from Germany, France, Britain and Italy. The National Statistics and Information Office also said that there was a surge in tourists from Japan, Haiti, Costa Rica, Ireland, and Poland.
Travelers from countries that have no legal barriers to vacationing in Cuba might be to visit the country ahead of a surge of tourists.
Until recently, Cuba has been off limits to citizens of the United States for half a century. Cuba is no stranger to international tourism. The Carribean country ranks third international arrivals, behind the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
The surge in tourism has come about after a new stage of normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba after more than fifty years of enmity.
Experts predict that the influx of tourists will only double after the ease in travel restrictions to Cuba in force in the United States.
U.S. visitors might find the previously banned destination to be more appealing. The former foes have come to an agreement to allow scheduled commercial flights. This is the latest move the two nations have made to ensure easier and more abundant travel between Cuba and the U.S. It is not known as of now when the first Cuba-bound flights will take off. Officials said that this could mean more than a dozen flights arriving into Cuba from the US a day.
The move to restore commercial flights between the countries is perhaps one of the more significant steps over the past year that would help facilitate the arrival of American visitors to Cuba. This year has been an extraordinary year between the two countries, although there are some sticking points that still remain.
Admittedly, Cuba’s tourism infrastructure has to be updated and improved when it comes to accommodating tens or hundreds of thousands more tourists.
Colleen Anne, Latinone
December 31, 2015