The soften of the hard relations between the United States and Cuba has opened the door to American tourists, and there has been an increment of 36% in trips to the island from US visitors.
The rise on Cuban tourism includes thousands of people who are entering into the island from third countries, such as Jamaica, with the purpose to avoid US restraints on tourism.
The impressive augmentation was taken from the numbers of Americans who have no family relations in Cuba and have visited the island from January 1st to May 9th of this year, in comparison with the same period of last year, following the statistics from The Associated Press by a University of Havana professor.
Also, the rise of American tourists is followed by a 14% increase in visits to Cuba from other countries between January and May in comparison with the same period in 2014.
The Numbers Speak
From January 1st to May 9th in 2014, a total of 37,459 Americans visited the island, compared to the same period this year, 51,458 people from the US have already make a trip to Cuba, according to the statistics from The Associated Press by Jose Luis Pello Cabrera, an economist and professor from the Tourism Studies Department of the University of Havana, who has access to official numbers.
The numbers also show details of hundreds of American visitors who are entering into the island through third countries so they can avoid United States regulations on tourism.
Exactly 38,476 tourists flew from the United States to Cuba, by the other hand 29,213 visits the island in the same period in 2014.
Additionally 12,982 Americans arrived in Cuba via third countries, a jump of 57% in comparison to the 8,246 Americans who visit the island from other countries.
The Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Mexico are one of the primary options for Americans to visit Cuba from non-US point, Perello explained.
David Perez, an American from New York who recently visited the island in May through Cancun. “I had just always wanted to go to Cuba and I decided now was the time,” Perez said.
The enigmatic island has seen a 14% increase in general tourism. Visitors from around the world during January 1st to May 9th have gone from 1,349,903 in 2014, to 1,547,104 in 2015. These tourists are composed of 16% from Spain, 26% from the United Kingdom, 25% from France and 22% from Germany.
The Loose On The Restraints
According to Hagar Chemali, a spokesman from the US Treasury Department (which is the one in charge to make the ruling on Cuba travel) spoke about the visits to Cuba. “For tourist activities continues to be prohibited,” he said.
After the United States President Obama announced detente with the island’s government in January, “we eased the travel regulations,” Chemali said.
The new policies are easing the required documentation, and that has helped Americans to ignore the restraints. While many people from the United States are travelling through high-priced and planned “people to people” visits that are permitted by the US government, it is common to find Americans who have toured to Cuba independently to visit the beach and drink mojitos.
Charter businesses that are flying tourists from the United States to Cuba explain that visitors now need a “self-certify” that their visit is under a permitted classification. “The person calling us needs to tell me, `I’m going in support of the Cuban people, or professional research, or a family visit,'” or any of the 12 accepted categories, explained Tessie Aral of ABC Charters. Later, “all they do is sign a certification.”
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