09/25/13 - eTurboNews - Cubans that travel within Cuba
As many as 339,470 Cubans checked into Cuban hotels from January to July,
rising 13.9 per cent year on year, commercial director of the Ministry of
Tourism Jose Manuel Bisbe York told local publication Bohemia.
The number of Cubans travelling within the island country has shown a
marked increase in the first half of 2013, offsetting a slight decrease of
international tourists, official figures showed.
The number represents a record high since restrictions banning Cubans from
using the countrys tourist facilities were lifted in 2008, he said.
Cuba witnessed an economic recession after the 1991 disintegration of the
Soviet Union, the island nations major economic partner.
Among the resultant belt-tightening measures was reserving tourist
facilities exclusively for foreigners using dollars.
After Raul Castro became president in 2008, he began to abolish those
restrictions in an effort to revive the economy.
Im confident of the current changes being made to the national economic
model to stimulate the domestic market, said Bisbe, the Tourism Ministry
Most domestic travelers are artists, athletes, professionals who have
served in cooperation missions abroad, and those who have relatives abroad
to supplement their income, he said.
The prices of most tourism facilities are still too high for the average
Cuban household to afford, he added.
In the same period of time, the number of foreign visitors shrank by 1.8
per cent due to a reduction of flights to Cuba following the global
Officials expect the number of Cuban travelers this year to increase by
100,000 over that of 2012 to 625,000, and the tally of international
travelers to reach 3 million.
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