According to official figures Cuba welcomed more than 3.524 million tourists from all over the world in 2015, a substantial improvement of 17.4 per cent compared with the previous year.
This is a result not only of a thaw in relations between the USA and Cuba, but is also due to increased interest from, among other countries, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Mexico and Venezuela, all of which are reporting double-digit growth rates. Canada is currently the single largest market. In 2015 over 175,000 visitors came from Germany, an increase of 26 per cent.
Industry players say that in 2016 one in ten people visiting Cuba will be from the USA. Washington's travel embargo is still in force, but group travel from the USA has been possible since the end of 2014. In addition Cuban exiles living in the USA and US citizens have for many years been flying to Havana from third countries such as Mexico and the Bahamas.
Moreover, US President Barack Obama together with his wife Michelle, and Mick Jagger with the Rolling Stones, who have announced a free concert, due to take place in Havana in March 2016, will be among the visitors of the socialist island.