MIAMI, United States. – The Cuban government hopes to welcome close to 3 million visitors in 2023, the island’s Minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos García Granda, stated at the world fair World Travel Market, held in London.
According to the news agency EFE, the Cuban official said that the priority for his ministry was “to recover the largest number of visitors possible” following the pandemic.
García Granda also celebrated the 250% increase in the arrival of visitors to the island with respect to 2021.
In spite of García Granda’s optimism, last week, the Minister of Economy and Planning, Alejandro Gil, admitted that the Cuban government would not meet the goal of welcoming 2.5 million international visitors in 2022 as projected.
Gil stated that “it is estimated that the year will close with 1,710,000 visitors welcomed, a number that is lower than the 2.5 million” projected in the Plan for the Economy, which represents a drop of 32% from the numbers projected.
According to official data, this year to date Cuba has welcomed 1.2 million visitors. That number could reach 1.7 million by the end of December, a number that is much lower than the 4.5 million welcomed prior to the health crisis that resulted from COVID-19.
“It’s not all that we had wanted, but the restrictions we had to enforce on the arrival of visitors from foreign countries until April did not generate enough confidence in tourist markets,” explained García Granda.
“We are attractive, tour operators are seeing demand, in spite of the blockade that the U.S. maintains against Cuba and all their efforts to place obstacles in our economic development, which makes them come up constantly with measures that affect the arrival of visitors to the island,” he also stated, placing blame on the United States government.
Regarding the blackouts that affect Cubans and that could discourage tourists, he said that his government was working “very hard” to solve the situation and that blackouts did not affect tourism negatively.
“The private and state network in charge of tourism activity is prepared for energy contingencies by means of emergency generators and photovoltaic cells, because we also have environmental objectives,” he added.
According to García Granda, tourism will contribute to “economic recovery” in the country and will also keep the thermoelectric plants working, and enable the “purchase more food”.
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