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imageHAVANA,March 13 (Telesur) Cuba has welcomed 1 million foreign tourists to date in 2016, a 14.6 percent surge over the same period last year, statistics from Cuba’s Tourism Ministry revealed on Saturday.

Tthe tourism ministry said in a broadcast on state television that 2016 has been characterized by “continuous growth” in the number of tourists to Cuba from Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy and Argentina.

A spokesperson also said local hotels and tour operators plan to raise the quality of their services and increase hotel capacity in order to deal with the increased number of tourists hitting the Caribbean islands shores year round.
Cuban tourism authorities estimate that in 2016 some 3.7 million foreign tourists will visit, 175,200 more than in 2015, when the country broke the previous set record by receiving 3.5 million travelers.

Although Cuba has always been a popular destination with tourists from Europe and beyond numbers have spiked since its diplomatic relations between the U.S. started to thaw in late 2014.
ocal economists note that some 145,000 Americans visited Cuba in 2015, 79 percent more than in the previous year.

The tourism industry is now considered one of the most important facets of the Cuban economy and the second-strongest for earning foreign currency, with revenues of US$1.94 billion in 2015, up 10.7 percent over the previous year, the island’s National Statistics and Information Office, or ONEI, reported.

cuban-tourists-old-havana_onr4yhHAVANA, Sep 9 (acn) Cuban Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero said amount of visitors has grown 17 percent so far this year, thanks to the favorable performance of the main source markets.

The list of countries bringing more tourists to Cuba is topped by Canada, England, Spain, Mexico, France and Italy, reflecting the efforts of the nation to improve the offer in the most important centers of this Caribbean destination.

Recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics and Information (ONEI by its Spanish acronym) indicates that 2 194 134 people arrived to the archipelago in the first half of 2015, representing an increase of 17 percent compared to last year.

Raising the quality, in general, is every day challenge for workers in the sector, and to that end they work intensely to achieve better services in the country, said Marrero.

After inaugurating the new headquarters, which will host the Faculty of Tourism, the Minister told reporters that due to the growing demand for training in Havana, a development strategy, which includes the construction of several hotels and maintenance of others, is being implemented.

Although we are in a good moment, he said, it is not enough.

“We know there are many things to do, but we are going in the right direction, gradually giving response to the demand,” he added.