Cuba to expand int’l airport as tourists surge

Jose Marti International Airport

HAVANA, March 9 (Xinhua) — The Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht will expand Havana’s International Airport “Jose Marti” beginning this month, according to a local media here on Monday.

Fabio Goebel, Odebrecht’s representative in Cuba, said the planned update of the airport terminal No. 3 will cost 207 million U.S. dollars, as cited by the digital magazine “Cubacontemporanea.”

Goebel said the goal is to “streamline the service for the nearly 2,000 travelers transiting through the facility during the peak hours.”

As Cuba’s main port of entry, the Jose Marti international airport received 3 million visitors in 2014.

Cuba is expecting a significant increase of visitor arrivals as the United States has decided to facilitate its citizens to travel to the Caribbean nation.

In a surprise agreement, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced last December that they would normalize ties between their countries after a half-century embargo.

Under the new regulations, Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba for any of a dozen specific reasons without seeking permission first.

According to Cuban officials, tourism to Cuba was up 16 percent in January from the same time last year, following the rapprochement between the island and the United States.

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