How Cuba is Lifting the Caribbean Region

Written by Sophia Bass

The recent boom in travelers visiting Cuba is aiding tourism throughout the Caribbean region. In the last year, Cuba’s wave of tourism rose by 13.9 percent to a record of just over 4 million. With a 4.2 percent increase as a whole for the Caribbean region, Cuban tourism officials are expecting a record high for tourism in 2017.

St. Lucia Prime Minister, Allen M. Chastanet stated, “Cuba opening up is a fantastic thing for the Caribbean. It only strengthens the brand of the Caribbean.” With nearly 2 million international visitors in the first few months of 2017, Jamaica also hit a record high, raising $1 billion in tourism. Because Cuba attracts visitors from Latin America, Europe, Canada, and the U.S., Cuba may inspire visitors to travel to other Caribbean islands.

Currently, the United States government allows U.S. travelers into 12 categories, such as support for the Cuban people, humanitarian missions, family visits, journalism, research, or people to people visits. If travel restrictions are lifted, the International Monetary Fund says it could result in 5.6 million U.S. arrivals in Cuba.

Former President Barack Obama lifted some travel restrictions with Cuba, but it is unclear what U.S. policy toward Cuba might be under President Donald Trump.

The recent surge in U.S. travel to Cuba has increased revenue and allowed travel companies to hire American workers, which also has benefited Cuba’s private sector. In addition, U.S. hotel companies have also expressed interest in Cuba, but this is dependent on the U.S. policy going forward.

If the United States continues to allow tourist travel to Cuba, the Caribbean tourism industry will continue to grow despite changes in market shares. Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell states, “Cuba being the giant that it’s going to be now can help us if we integrate our efforts in the region much more than we have don’t at this point, by working together to improve transportation links to the region, and to join forces in marketing.”

For more information on Cuba’s growing tourism industry, check out the article below.

Will Cuba's wave of tourism lift the Caribbean region?


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