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
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.”