The nations of America and Cuba have a long history between them. However, some of it has been pretty rocky over the years, especially during the 1960s. But things have changed over time and while American citizens found it very difficult to travel there due to government restrictions and embargoes, the borders have now more or less been reopened to them to some extent.
According to the Cuban tourism industry,the number of American visitors has been pretty stable ever since U.S. President Barack Obama loosened travel restrictions to the scenic Caribbean island in 2009. During the first six months of 2011 the number of tourists who visited Cuba was just over 1.5 million.
(photo credit: shamoany)
This represents a healthy increase of 10.6 per cent from the first half of 2010. There were close to 150,000 more visitors between this year and last year.
The total number of visitors for the whole year in 2010 was 2.53 million. About 950,000 of them were from Canada, as Cuba is a well known sun and sand destination for Canadians due to its spectacular beaches and all-inclusive ocean side resorts. Statistics show that Cuba received visits from 175,000 British citizens and 112,000 from Italian residents.
Cuba’s economy depends on the tourist trade as it brings in well over $2 billion of foreign exchangeeach year. It also provides thousands of Cubans with jobs. After President Obama started chipping away at the tourism walls to Cuba, the island saw its number of visitors rise rapidly in 2010 and it has risen again this year.
However, according to experts, 375,500 visitors to the island in 2010 were Cubans who live abroad, mainly in America. This was an increase of about 100,000 from the year before. The number of American citizens who visited Cuba jumped by 20 per cent last year as 63,000 people spent time there.
The Obama administration has made travel between America and Cuba easier now as there are more airports and airlines that serve the two old foes. This means we may see the number of Americans traveling there increase even more over the coming years. It’s already started, as experts have predicted that at least 100,000 American citizens will set foot in Cuba for one reason or another this year alone.
However, the floodgates haven’t exactly been opened in Cuba when it comes to American visitors. There are still some complicated rules and regulations that have been put in place by the American government. Most Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba for religious and educational purposes, while tourism-related trips are frowned upon.
But more and more U.S. citizens are now taking leisure trips there without having to fly via Canada or the Bahamas.