Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Posted on Monday, 04.07.14

Study: US travel to Cuba continues to rise
BY CHRISTINE ARMARIO
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The number of U.S. visitors to Cuba continues to rise, even as the
embargo, instituted more than five decades ago, remains firmly in place,
according to study released Monday.

Within the first three months of 2014 alone, there were more U.S.
tourists to the island than in all of 2013 from England, Germany or
France, according to a report by the U.S.-based Havana Consulting Group
provided to The Associated Press. Canada remains the No. 1 country of
origin for travelers to Cuba, but the number of U.S. travelers to the
island has been steadily increasing over the last seven years.

Some 173,550 U.S. travelers visited Cuba in January through March. That
compares to 149,515 from England, 115,984 from Germany and 96,640 from
France in 2013.

“The data confirms, although the Cuban government does not recognize it
publicly, that the United States, even with the effect of the embargo,
is the second greatest source of tourists to Cuba after Canada,” Emilio
Morales, the consulting group’s president wrote in the report.

“The push in the first trimester has been huge,” he added.

Most of the U.S. travelers are Cuban-Americans visiting family but
others have no ties to the island and travel to participate in academic
and cultural programs.

The continuing increase in U.S. travel to the Communist-run island comes
five years after President Barack Obama loosened restrictions on travel
to Cuba. In 2009, Obama lifted a limit put in place by former President
George W. Bush allowing Cuban-Americans to travel to island country no
more than once every three years to visit relatives. And in 2011, he
reinstated the so-called “people-to-people” trips, allowing U.S.
citizens to apply for a travel license to participate in educational
activities that promote contact with ordinary Cubans.

Havana is the top destination for most U.S. travelers, followed by Santa
Clara and Camaguey. The vast majority fly out of Miami International
Airport. More than 1,000 flights have departed from Miami to Cuba so far
this year, with another 109 leaving from Tampa, the report said.

Travel in the first three months of 2014 was higher than in the last
trimester of 2013, when many Cuban-Americans travel to spend the
holidays with their family. The number of U.S. travelers has increased
steadily each year, from about 245,000 in 2007 to nearly 600,000 last year.

“We expect that 2014 will be a record year,” Morales wrote.

On average, Cuban-American travelers spend about $3,238 per person
during their stay, accounting for a major source of revenue for the
economically-strapped island.

The study was based off data from U.S. airports and Cuba’s National
Statistics Office.

While the data points toward another big year for U.S. travel to the
long-forbidden island, there is one ongoing hurdle: Cuba suspended
consular services in February after being unable to find a new bank in
the U.S. for its diplomatic accounts. While many U.S. travelers had
already submitted their visa requests for spring visits to Cuba, the
situation remains unresolved and charter operators say it is having an
impact.

“At this point, it’s just getting worse,” said Armando Garcia, the owner
of Marazul, one of the largest Cuba charter operators. “For
Cuban-Americans born in the United States we already have serious
problems because we don’t have visas for them. It’s affecting travel, no
doubt.”

Source: Study: US travel to Cuba continues to rise – Just In! | Travel
News – MiamiHerald.com –
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/07/4045444/study-us-travel-to-cuba-continues.html


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