Cuba is expecting to welcome a record number of foreign tourists this year, with the authorities pushing realtors to speed up the construction of new hotels in the capital, Havana.
The country’s Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero has told reporters that more than 5 million foreigners will visit the island this year.
Tourism revenue is also estimated to exceed US$3 billion this year. The communist island welcomed 4.78 million visitors last year.
Europeans make up the majority of tourists arriving in the country, but analysts say more Americans will visit the island if the US Congress lifts all the restrictions imposed on travelling to the island.
Meanwhile Cuba is sprucing up its tourism infrastructure, as it is preparing to host the international tourism fair, FitCuba 2019, schedule for May.
As many as 36 new hotels are under construction across the country, which are expected to add 18,000 rooms to the existing 65,000.
Many hotels are being developed in capital Havana, one of which, Iberostar Grand Packard, has already been opened. Another similar hotel, the Prado y Malecon, is scheduled to open later this year.
Tourism activities slowed down for a brief period in 2017 as hurricane Irma left streets across Havana flooded.
With a tropical climate, sunny beaches, colonial architecture and a special history, the communist island has long been an attractive destination for tourists.
Air travel to Cuba is still the preferred way to go, but these days an increasing number of people are coming on cruise ships.