Report: Cuba visits from U.S. up 36% this year

The Havana skyline.
The Havana skyline. Photo Credit: via/

U.S. visitors to Cuba between Jan. 1 and May 9 totaled 51,458, a jump of 36% over the same period a year ago, according to figures provided to the Associated Press from Jose Luis Perello Cabrera, an economist in the University of Havana's tourism studies department.

The figure includes thousands who are flying into Cuba from countries such as Mexico, Jamaica, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands in order to sidestep U.S. restrictions on tourism, according to AP. The number does not include Cuban-Americans with family ties to Cuba.

The statistics show that 38,476 visitors flew directly from the U.S. to Cuba, up from 29,213 in the same five-month period in 2014. Most of these visitors were traveling in one of the 12 allowed categories of authorized travel, including humanitarian, educational, academic and people-to-people programs.

Of the remaining visitors, 12,982 Americans arrived via third countries, a 57% increase over the 8,246 Americans who traveled in that manner during the same period in 2014.

According to the latest figures supplied by Cuba to the Caribbean Tourism Organization for the January-March period,  tourists who arrived by air rose 14.1%,  to 1.13 million.

March recorded the highest number of visitors, 404,421, up 12.5% over March 2014.

CTO did not have a specific breakdown for the number of U.S. visitors to Cuba, but indicated that U.S. visitors were included in the category labeled “other,” which totaled 328,337 visitors, a 16% increase. The main markets for Cuba from January through March were Canada with 551,360 visitors, up 12.4%; Europe, 255,913 visitors, up 15.2%; followed by “other.”


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