Cuba hopes for Russia, and tour operators hope for Cuba
Russia has been named as one of the most promising source markets in Cuba. Cuba expects to host a record 5 million foreign tourists this year and receive $ 3 billion in revenue from tourism. Last year, the country was visited by 4.7 million foreign tourists (+ 1.3% compared with 2017). Today, the tourism sector in Cuba creates half a million jobs and is the second source of income, providing 10% of GDP.
According to the Ministry of Tourism of Cuba, over the first four months of 2019, the flow of tourists to Cuba grew by 7.2% - 2 million foreign visitors visited the country. According to preliminary data, during the reporting period, almost 60.5 thousand Russians visited Cuba, which is 19% more than the figure for the same period last year.
As the Minister of Tourism of Cuba Manuel Marrero stated at the FitCuba-2019 exhibition, inbound tourism is growing “despite the difficult situations that the country faces.” Thus, the US authorities have strengthened their embargo, tightening the conditions for visiting Cuba for their citizens.
In addition, there is a decrease in tourist traffic from the main market - Canada, as well as from countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. The flow of tourists from European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Great Britain) decreased by 10-13%.
Beyond this trend is Russia, which last year showed the highest dynamics of arrivals among all the entry markets of Cuba. According to the Ministry of Tourism of Cuba, in 2018 the Russian tourists flow to the island increased by 30%, reaching a figure of over 137 thousand tourists. By the number of tourists, the Russian Federation is in the TOP 10 source markets of Cuba. For comparison: the tourist flow from Spain, with which Cuba has close historical and economic ties, amounted to 167 thousand people last year.
According to forecasts, in 2019 about 150 thousand tourists from Russia will visit Cuba.