By the Caribbean Journal staff
Cuba saw a 0.5 percent increase in tourism arrivals in 2013, according to recently-released data from the country’s National Statistical Office.
Cuba received a total of 2,852,572 foreign arrivals in 2013, up 0.5 percent from its total of 2,838,607 in 2012.
Those numbers did not include United States tourists, however. While US tourists are heading to the island, they are only licensed to do so for certain kinds of people-to-people and education travel, and not traditional tourism visitation.
Cuba also does not count Cuban-American travelers as tourists, but rather as nationals.
Cuba saw the biggest jump from Chilean tourists, who saw their numbers swell by 30.5 percent in 2013, rising to 35,952 from 27,551.
Tourists from Venezuela were the next-largest group, with an increase to 45,943 from 36,373, a 26.3 percent jump.
Tourism from Russia, traditionally a strong point for Cuba’s tourist sector, dropped sharply, with a 19 percent reduction to 70,401.
That may be attributable to a corresponding increase in Russian tourists that the nearby Dominican Republic has been experiencing.
The island did include a category called “others,” which totaled 727,517 tourists in 2013, a 1.4 percent drop from 2012.