Cuba revealed tourism to the island dropped 8.5 percent throughout 2019 — including major declines in tourism from Europe.
Cuba received 3,896,868 tourists between January and the end of November 2019, a significantly smaller number than the five million the regime claimed it was anticipating at the end of 2018 and nearly 400,000 fewer people than last year. The year marked both the 60th anniversary of the bloody communist revolution of 1959 and the 500th anniversary of the founding of Havana by the Spanish, events the regime hoped would attract more tourists.
The regime blamed tightened restrictions on travel to Cuba by President Donald Trump for the fall in tourism, although all tourism by Americans to Cuba has been illegal since the 1960s. This did not stop 475,235 Americans from visiting Cuba, however, according to the Cuban government. It is not clear how many of these individuals were Cuban-Americans, as the Cuban regime does not recognize the US citizenship of someone born in Cuba or someone born in the United States to parents born in Cuba, even if they have never been on the island.
Trump did end a loophole to the tourism ban last year that President Barack Obama implemented in 2016: allowing large cruise companies to sail from US territory into the ports of Havana and Santiago. Trump has also allowed Americans who lost territory in this way to sue companies handling properties there in American courts for the first time.
The Cuban Communist Party and Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces own all tourism properties on the island. Any money generated from hotels, restaurants, malls, and other leisure destinations are paid to the regime.
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