Cuba sees tourism dropping 8.5%


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HAVANA (Reuters) - Tourism to Cuba will likely drop 8.5% this year in the wake of tighter U.S. restrictions on travel to the Caribbean island, the government said on Thursday, and the decline in arrivals will further hurt Cuba’s already ailing centrally planned economy.

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A boom in tourism over the last few years has helped offset weaker exports and a steep decline in aid from key ally Venezuela that has forced the government to take austerity measures like cutting imports.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to squeeze that hard currency revenue stream too as part of its attempt to force the Communist government to reform and stop supporting Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

Last month it banned cruise ships and private planes and yachts from traveling to the island and ended a heavily used educational category of travel allowed as an exemption to the overall ban on U.S. tourism.

“These measures sparked a 20.33% reduction in tourist activity,” Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero was quoted as saying by state news agencies in a speech to the National Assembly.

 

The minister estimated 4.3 million people would visit Cuba this year, down from the goal of more than 5 million, and 4.7 million last year.

Looser restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba under former President Barack Obama, the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and commercial flights and cruises had caused a spike in U.S. visits to the country.

U.S. travelers excluding Cuban-Americans became the second- biggest group of tourists on the island in recent years after Canadians, with cruise travelers accounting for half of them.

But Trump has rolled back much of Obama’s detente and taken additional measures to punish the economy and government.

Marrero noted the Trump administration’s decision in April to allow U.S. lawsuits against foreign companies deemed to be “trafficking” in properties in Cuba nationalized after Cuba’s 1959 revolution was also affecting the tourism sector.

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4 minutes ago, El Presidente said:

Non US citizens have always had to re-route through a 3rd country.  We find Panama easiest. 

Recently (this past May), I know a friend who went direct from Miami with a non-US passport and somehow got through (he has a Chinese passport so maybe they welcome comrades).

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21 minutes ago, mt1 said:

Recently (this past May), I know a friend who went direct from Miami with a non-US passport and somehow got through (he has a Chinese passport so maybe they welcome comrades).

I have heard that it can happen. I have also heard first hand of people (non US citizens) buying the tickets online (third country) and being stopped at the gates (in the US) from boarding . American Airlines are notorious for this. 

Get it in writing. 

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I see no reason why Cuba needs US tourism dollars. There are much better destinations in the world for an American to visit and not jeopardize getting in hot water with the US treasury or any other government entity. For myself it's simply not worth it. Besides you don't miss what you've never had or never been

 

 

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