14ymedio, Madrid, January 19, 2024 — With the final tourism data in 2023 fresh out of the oven and certifying a failure on the forecasts, the Cuban Government has just announced its projection for 2024, when it estimates that 3.23 million visitors may arrive as international travelers to the Island. The figure shows some containment, after two years of major errors in their calculations
At the beginning of 2022, the authorities aspired to achieve 2.5 million tourists, although in October they lowered the expectation and stayed at 1.7, which they also did not achieve (the year closed with 1.6 million). Despite this, in 2023 an extremely positive improvement was announced: the objective of 3.5 million, which has remained at a meager 2.4.
To reach the proposed mark for 2024, despite being much more modest than that of a year ago, the Island needs to attract almost 800,000 more travelers
To reach the proposed mark for 2024, despite being much more modest than the from a year ago, the Island needs to attract almost 800,000 more travelers in a context that does not invite optimism, although it will have to wait until the end of the first quarter to evaluate the trend.
In the article published in Cubadebate this Friday with the new goal, the figures for the year that has just concluded are analyzed, among which it is worth highlighting the concentration of the origin of travelers. 70% of arrivals come from just five markets: Canadians, Cubans who permanently reside abroad, Americans, Russians and Spaniards.
The article is a response to the independent press and international agencies that have insistently pointed out that Cuba is not able to recover its pre-pandemic numbers while its competitors, both in the Caribbean and in other popular destinations such as Spain and France, reach records as they leave behind the debacle caused by covid-19.
To do this, it digs up data from two decades ago. “If the indicators of international arrivals are analyzed, between the years 2004-2013 arrivals increased by 803,447 international visitors, an average year-to-year growth of 3.7%; while in the period 2013-2018 visitors increased by 1,016,098 for an average annual growth rate of 10.65%,” the article states.
The article argues that “for the Cuban case, it is not valid to get involved in ‘recovering’ the indicators of 2019, so-called pre-pandemic; but rather to ‘rebirth’ tourism, with new strategies and ways of doing things in a new era, but under difficult financial conditions and restrictions, which date back to before the pandemic.”
The note attributes the fall in tourism to the increase in US sanctions, in particular travel restrictions for 2017
The note attributes the fall in tourism to the increase in US sanctions, in particular travel restrictions for 2017, data that contrasts with the reality that in both 2017 and 2018 record figures in tourism were achieved, specifically 4.6 million in 2017, and 4.7 million the following year when the United States “issued a level 3 travel alert to Cuba,” the article emphasizes. The article also mentions that year’s closure of consular services, ignoring that the use of the headquarters in Havana affects Cubans who want to go abroad, not international travelers who arrive on the Island.
“Cuban tourism became a ‘political weapon’,” says the editor, reviewing the measures taken in 2019: suppression of educational and people-to-people trips, as well as cruises and charter flights, which caused a wave of cancellations. That year, in fact, the number of tourists was lower, 4.3 million, but despite everything that Cubadebate claims, it was a very good figure, above the 3.5 and 4 million in 2015 and 2016, respectively, the years of the ‘thaw’.
The note, in any case, anticipates a new failure and believes that the electoral panorama coming this year (there will be elections in some 70 countries that include half of the world’s population), as well as the “economic situation” can lead “towards new emerging destinations in the Mexican Caribbean, Central America and the Dominican Republic where the offes will be concentrated,” but calls for optimism.
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