The results are in: in a year marked by a record hurricane season in the Caribbean, Cuba welcomed approximately 4.7 million foreign visitors in 2017, representing a 16.2 per cent increase over 2016.
Of that total number of arrivals, Cuba welcomed more than 1.1 million Canadian visitors. The Cuba Tourism Board presented the following statistics about Canadian arrivals in 2017:
- 44 per cent of Canadian visitors in 2017 had previously visited Cuba
- For the seventh year in a row, Cuba has received more than 1 million Canadian tourists
- Cuba receives more visitors from Canada than from any other country
- Cuba remains the number one destination for Canadians in the Caribbean
- There are more direct flights from Canada (from 30 Canadian cities) including Halifax, St. John, Moncton, Montreal, Quebec City, Hamilton, London, Windsor, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna and Vancouver.
“Peace, health and safety remain the pillars of Cuban Tourism and, ultimately, the factors that explain our incredible growth,” explains Eloy Govea, Director for Canada for the Cuba Tourism Board. “The unique environment allows everyone to thoroughly experience the Auténtica Cuba: our spectacular beaches, incredible people, vibrant culture, fascinating history and unspoiled nature; all of which is particularly accessible and affordable for Canadians.”
Cuba also welcomed an increased number of cruise ships, with the number of tourists participating in excursions significantly increased as well.
Looking ahead, the Cuban government aims to have 224 new hotels completed by 2030, which will add 103,000 new rooms, increasing the number of rooms from 68,000 to 171,000 over the next 12 years. These new development projects will occur in virtually all regions of Cuba including the main tourists spots such as Varadero and Havana.
With a growth rate of 16.2 per cent in 2017, the tourism board said that Cuba expects to meet its 2018 goal of welcoming 5 million foreign visitors.