HAVANA — Despite global economic weakness Cuban tourism increased during the first 9 months of 2010, with both revenue and visitor numbers up, according to island’s tourism officials.
The Associated Press reports that revenue through September was $1.3 billion, up 3.5 per cent from the $1.26 billion reported over the same period last year. The number of tourists also increased during the period, up about 50,000 to 1.89 million through September.
According to AP, Canada remains the country that sends most tourists to the island — with 733,000 in the first nine months of 2010 — followed by Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany. U.S. tourists are effectively barred from coming to Cuba, and Washington has maintained a 48-year trade embargo on the island.
Tourism and nickel production are Cuba’s main sources of income. The country is in the midst of a deep economic downturn. Communist leaders are in the process of revamping the economy, injecting a measure of free market capitalism into the state-dominated system.