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Cuba: Despite obstacles to tourism the race to achieve records continues

2017 was another record year for Cuba. The number of visitors from the US more than doubled. However, according to organisers and exhibitors on the stand of Cuba in Hall 22a at ITB Berlin, the effects of travel restrictions imposed by the US government last November are now beginning to be felt.

State representatives from Havana expressed their satisfaction that neither damage from Hurricane Irma nor the latest additional restrictions from Washington were able to stop the success of tourism on the island last year.

"Cuba si" – But the upsurge in visitor numbers has slowed down

Auto in Havana, Cuba

Cuba has been racing from one record to another, but there is a limit to everything. Following the massive boom in tourism that accompanied the thaw in political relations with the USA two years ago, growth has now slowed down. After recording 3.5 million visitors in 2015 and 4.035 million in 2016, the Tourism Ministry in Havana is expecting some 4.2 million from all over the world in 2017. Compared with the double-digit expansion of the previous years this would represent just a five per cent increase, it was reported on the Cuba stand in Hall 22a at ITB Berlin.

Cuba's records: 3.5 million tourists plus Obama and Mick Jagger

Cuba is breaking one record after another, with business for 2016 looking very good too. This has been confirmed at ITB Berlin by exhibitors from Havana and by tour operators in Gemany and in other countries. There are more and more positive headlines: US President Barack Obama together with his wife Michelle, and Mick Jagger with the Rolling Stones, who have announced a free concert, due to take place in Havana in March 2016, will be among the visitors. Apart from official dates they will also be enjoying at least a brief tourism programme.