Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tourism dropping in first quarter

"ourism dropping in first quarter

After years of uninterrupted growth, tourism in Cuba dropped slightly in
the first quarter of the year, the height of tourism season.

The number of visitors to the island dropped 0.5 percent during January
through March, according to the Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas (ONE),
from 952,885 last year to 947,891.

Thanks to a small boost in March, following declines in January and
February, the number of visitors from Canada inched up 0.5 percent
during the first quarter. Canada has been the consistent growth engine
for Cuba's tourism industry.

Indicating that the people-to-people travel boom of U.S. tourists is
petering out, the number of visitors from "other" countries — which
includes the United States — was down 3.1 percent in the first quarter,
from 195,129 to 188,999.

The biggest drop — -16.1 percent — came for tourists from Russia,
followed by drops for visitors from Italy (-14.7%), France (-9.4%), and
Spain (-9.3%). The number of visitors from Argentina and Great Britain
also shrank.

Meanwhile, there were rises for some outbound markets that are
relatively small in Cuban tourism. The number of visitors from Colombia
grew 18.2 percent, China +21.9 percent, Mexico +22 percent, and Chile
+23 percent.

Even so, the Cuban government expects more than 3 million tourists this
year, crossing the 3-million mark for the first time.

Last year, Cuba had 2.85 million visitors.

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