Cuban government forecasts tourism growth despite blockade

Havana, Dec 17 (Prensa Latina) Almost 4.5 million tourists will visit Cuba in 2020, about 200,000 more visitors compared to 2019, Economic Minister Alejandro Gil forecast today.

Next year will also see increased revenues in that sector and 4,000 new hotel capacities added to the national infrastructure, the official announced in the session of the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs of the Cuban Parliament.

In the last two decades, tourism has become Cuba’s main economic engine.

Gil stressed that the country failed to reach the goal of five million visitors in 2019 due to punitive measures adopted by the United States government, which included the prohibition of cruise travel and the ban on flights from the US, except to Havana.

In 2020, the country’s exports will grow 3.7 percent, a positive figure but still insufficient to raise the levels of growth required, Gil noted.

In this regard, he indicated that among the main exportable items will be nickel, tobacco, rum, coal, sugar and telecommunications.

As national economy priorities for 2020, he pointed to the establishment of productive chains, adding value added to products, as well as increasing production levels and exportable items.

Gil said the Cuban economy will grow slightly this year, despite the tightening of the US blockade and other adverse external factors.

On taking stock of the last 12 months, the minister indicated that it was a period marked by a complex scenario, due to global economic uncertainty and the new measures taken by Washington against the country.

rly/cg/sus/agp/rob