The Cuban authorities foresee that by the end of this year the number of visitors arrived on board cruises will exceed 380,000 thanks to the exponential growth experienced since the previous Administration of the United States expanded the travel categories of its citizens to the Island.
The information was released today on the occasion of the closing of the “Symposium on the Cruise Industry”, held in Havana and during which the situation of the sector was addressed for two days with the assistance of representatives of its main companies, organizations and Cuban Government
Aspects related to this industry such as security, operations and infrastructure focused the meeting, according to a statement released today by the International Cruise Lines Association (CLIA), the Florida and Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and the Cuban ministries of Tourism and Transport.
“The symposium reviewed the progress of good practices in the areas of cruise operations, including the safety of industry and the environment,” the note said, adding that “the parties agreed on the need to continue cooperating on issues that improve the experiences of the passengers. ”
The Cuban ministers of Tourism, Manuel Marrero, and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, were present at the conference, which also attended the top representatives of the major companies in the sector, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.
These firms are among the first to obtain licenses to operate on the island following the normalization of bilateral relations between the US and Cuba, which began in December 2014, still under the presidency of Barack Obama.
On May 1, 2016, the first cruise of the United States to Cuba in more than 50 years, the Adonia, of Carnival.
Although the Americans still can not visit the Caribbean country as tourists, Obama made travel more flexible by approving twelve categories to which the citizens of that country can take refuge to visit the island, among them the religious, cultural, educational, humanitarian aid or the personal exchanges with the Cuban people.
That last category has been eliminated by the current US president, Donald Trump, contrary to the policy of rapprochement of his predecessor and who has also hardened the embargo that his country maintains on the island by prohibiting doing business with any company linked to the Cuban military establishment.
In the list of companies now closed to US entrepreneurs and travelers, there are numerous hotels belonging to conglomerates controlled by the Cuban Armed Forces, so that cruises can be a way to keep the visits of the Americans to the island, since travelers sleep on the ship.
Tourism is the second source of foreign currency for the Cuban State and the income provided by this sector is vital at a time of “adverse economic situation”, according to the definition of the Cuban Government.