International arrivals in Cuba almost tripled in January

Cuba baffles Russian tourists: doubts about paying in dollars or card

HAVANA, Feb. 11th Cuba received around 246,000 international travelers in January of this year, almost triple the number that arrived on the island in the same period of 2022, according to official media reports this Tuesday.

The figure represents “a very significant increase compared to the 86,424 who entered in January last year,” said the official newspaper Granma.

The rebound is mainly due to the “approach of several international travel agencies to the island, which is interested in the Cuba destination,” said this outlet, citing other publications.

Last December, 236,862 people visited the country, an increase of 452.8% compared to the same month in 2021 — when the island was still affected by the restrictions of the pandemic —, according to the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI), which has not yet published the official figures for this January.

A total of 1,614,087 international travelers arrived in Cuba in 2022. The government had set the goal of 1.7 million tourists in the middle of the year, after lowering its initial forecast of 2.5 million.

Canada, Cubans residing abroad, the United States, Spain, Germany and Russia led, in that order, the main groups of international travelers arriving on the island, according to ONEI.

Cuba got to receive between 4 and 5 million international travelers in 2018 and 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourism is the second largest income for the gross domestic product (GDP) and the second largest source of foreign currency in Cuba, behind the export of services, mainly health.

The goal set by the government for this year is to receive 3.5 million tourists, double the number that arrived in the country in 2022.

Minister of Tourism Juan Carlos García Granda recently assured EFE that this goal is possible, despite the current “difficulties” that the country is suffering.