According to official stats from the government, international visitors to Cuba reached 2 million before ending first half 2016, with Canada, the United States, Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Mexico leading the way. This establishes a new record since at the same period of the previous year there were 1.9 million international visitors.
The United States, the world’s second largest source market according to the World Tourism Organization, led growth based on easing restrictions on Americans visiting Cuba and a strong US dollar fuelling outbound travel. The reestablishment of commercial air travel between Cuba and the United States agreed in February 2016 means the potential for 110 daily round-trip flights in and out of Cuba, including 20 daily flights to Havana. In June American hospitality giant Starwood began managing Quinta Avenida hotel in Havana under the Four Points by Sheraton brand and is planning to increase the number of hotels managed in the island. In coming months visitors from the US should increase their arrivals to Cuba.
The José Martí International Airport in Havana city receives 47% of total visitors according to the Ministry of Tourism. Among Havana´s several attractions, its historic city center declared world heritage in 1982 by UNESCO stands out with its almost 5 centuries old fortifications system and buildings. This city recently received the award as one of the new seven wonders cities of the world in an online contest organized by the Swiss Foundation New7Wonders. Other tourist destinations like Varadero, Trinidad and Holguin have increased their international visitors as well.
Many cruises arrived to Cuban ports in the 2015-2016 winter season like Adriana, Panorama, Luis Cristal, Opera, Thomson Dream and the Adonia, from Carnival Corporation, the first from the United States in half a century.
The Cuban tourism industry generated 2.8 billion dollars income in 2015, an increase of 10.7% compared to the previous year. The amount of international visitors to Cuba is on its way to set a new record this 2016 as the total number last year was 3.5 million.