International tourism to Cuba’s Potemkin Village sagging
Because in the end, no matter how you dress it up or what euphemisms you use to describe it, a Potemkin Village tour is a Potemkin Village tour. Other than sex predators and those morbidly obsessed with observing Cubans as if they were animals in a zoo, the appeal is bound to be limited.
Cuba cites drop in U.S., European arrivals as tourism sags
Cuba’s tourism arrivals shrank by nearly 5 percent in April compared to the same month last year, largely because of significant drops in visitors from the United States and southern Europe, according to official reports.
But its income from tourism held steady, apparently as Cuba raised its prices and reached out to more big-spending tourists, moving away from its traditional attractions of low-cost, all-inclusive beach resorts.
Cuba’s National Statistic Office (ONE) reported that tourist arrivals fell from 288,000 in April of last year to 274,000 in the same month this year — a 4.9 percent drop. The 1.2 million visitors for the first four months of this year was 1.4 percent down from the same period in 2012.
Of the 18 source countries listed separately by ONE, the three at the top — Canada, United Kingdom and Germany — saw increases of 1.3 percent, 8.1 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively.
Visitors from Spain plunged by 29.5 percent from April to April — from 6,359 to 3,834 — from Italy by 7.2 percent and from France by 6.8 percent, according to the ONE report.
But the most significant drop was in the “other” category, which ONE uses to lump together arrivals from the United States and all other countries with less than 2,000 or so tourists. That fell from 63,248 in April of last year to 54,771 this April — 13.4 percent.
Arrivals from “other” countries also fell from 258,378 in the first quarter of 2012 to 243,782 in the same period this year, according to ONE.
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