Cuba expects to receive 2.2mn tourists in 2021

Cuba expects to receive nearly 2.2 million tourists by the end of this year, the country’s Minister of Economy and Planning Alejandro Gil said.

“The tourism industry is fundamental for the island’s economic recovery,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Minister as saying at a press conference here on Thursday.

Gil said that during the first months of the year the number of tourists arrival on the island was not as planned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The US embargo against Cuba continues to be the main obstacle for the development of the Caribbean nation,” he added.

It comes as the island nation strives to contain its deadliest surge in Covid-19 cases, following the reopening of international airports and Christmas break.

Only about 1.1 million tourists visited Cuba last year, down from the more than 4 million foreign visitors the island has annually received since 2016.

The tourism industry in Cuba accounts for more than 10 per cent of the country’s hard currency earnings.