Cuba Reports “Record Number” of Tourist Arrivals in 2012

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Above: the Melia Cohiba hotel in Havana (Photo: Melia Hotels)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Almost 2.84 million foreign tourists traveled to Cuba in 2012, according to a report in Cuba’s Granma government newspaper.

That number reportedly represented growth of 4.5 percent from 2011, and represented a record for the Caribbean island.

Cuba said the growth came largely from improvements from markets including Canada, its largest source market, which brought more than one million tourists for the second year in a row.

Argentina, China and Brazil were among the other countries contributing to tourism growth.

The United States has opened up pathways to travel to Cuba over the last several years, particularly through so-called “people-to-people” visits and educational tours, although purely recreational travel remains prohibited.

Cuba’s government did not report whether US tourists were included in the numbers, or, if so, how many arrived.