Cuban dictatorship dubiously claims 1 million tourists have visited this year

Cuba’s beleaguered and cash-strapped communist dictatorship is trying to portray an image that all is well, claiming they have hosted 1 million tourists, although the figure is questionable at best. Empty hotel rooms and sparse tourism in typically popular spots on the island tell a different story, but it’s not like anyone expected the Castro regime to be truthful.

Via Diario de Cuba (my translation):

Cuba received 1 million tourists so far this year, according to questionable government data

According to questionable official data published by the Minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos García Granda, on his X account, Cuba has received one million tourists so far this year. Recently, the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI) stated that, up to March, there were just over 809,000 foreign visitors, so this new number would mean that more than 100,000 tourists arrived on the island just in April, something unlikely.

The one million figure corresponds to the closing date of April 26th, and according to García Granda, “this element officially confirms the island’s ability to recover the levels of the travel industry shown before the Covid-19 pandemic,” something that, according to experts, would not happen in the short term.

The publication of the new data seems to be aimed at promoting and supporting the upcoming International Tourism Fair (FITCuba 2024), which will take place between May 1st and 5th in the Jardines del Rey tourist area.

In this regard, the Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization, Zurab Polilikashvili, and the Regional Director for the Americas of the same organization, Gustavo Santos, recently arrived in Cuba to participate in the event.

Both executives will participate in the 69th Meeting of the Regional Commission of UN Tourism for the Americas, which will be held in the resort of Varadero shortly before FITCuba.

For the fair, Cuban authorities expect to receive more than 500 foreign experts, agents, and tour operators, along with their Cuban counterparts, and 80 journalists from various countries.

According to ONEI statistics, the main sources of tourists to Cuba continue to be Canada, with 399,272 visitors; Russia, the great lifeline Cuban authorities cling to in order to achieve the goal of three million visitors in 2024, with 66,887; the USA, with 46,717; and Germany, with 22,097.

“The Cuban tourism industry is facing the worst crisis in its history. The manifest mediocrity of the Cuban authorities in managing the country’s multi-systemic crisis has put the sector that has received the largest investment in the last 15 years in crisis,” said economist Emilio Morales in a recent article published in DIARIO DE CUBA.

This situation has led to a drastic reduction in flights to the country by several European airlines, as well as the closure of operations by others from the USA, due to a considerable decrease in demand for the product, structural problems in the country’s hotel infrastructure, poor service, and limited market options to meet the leisure and entertainment needs of visitors.

“These facts are reflected today in the overwhelming superiority of competing markets in the Caribbean region, which are setting records for tourist arrivals and revenues while the opposite is happening in Cuba,” Morales concluded.

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