TORONTO — With continuous growth over the past eight years, Cuba welcomed more than two million tourists in the first half of 2016. A record 455,355 visitors were recorded in March alone.
According to data from Kayak, Havana is the year’s hot spot for Canadian travellers. Havana had a 230% increase in searches compared to last year.
In response to growing tourism numbers, several luxury hotels are set to open in 2017 for the first time in Cuban history. These include: the 252-room Angsana Cayo Santa Maria in Cayo Las Brujas-Cayo Santa Maria; the 500-room Catalonia Cayo Guillermo in Catalonia Cayo Guillermo; the 550-room Grand Muthu Cayo Guillermo in Cayo Guillermo; the 827-room Iberostar Bella Vista Varadero in Varadero; the 638-room Iberostar Holguin in Holguin; and the 660-room Sercotel Experience Cayo Santa Maria s in Cayo Las Brujas-Cayo Santa Maria.
Cuba is now the second most travelled to destination in the Caribbean with more than four million tourists in 2016, an increase of nearly 14.5% from 2015. In 2015, Cuba received 3.5 million visitors, up 17.4% from 2014.
Canada remains a leading source of tourists, followed by Germany, Great Britain, the U.S., France, Italy, Mexico and Argentina. Cuba has focused on building beach resorts for Canadian and European visitors in mind and, per ‘Travel and Leisure’ magazine, plans to build 100,000 new accommodations. These will mainly be all-inclusive beach resorts built by 2030 as part of the National Plan for Economic and Social Development.