Cuba's Tourism Minister, Manuel Marrero, said on July 11th that an estimated 4.3 million people are expected to visit Cuba this year, compared to 4.7 million last year, down from the goal of more than five million visitors, state news agencies reported.
This means tourism in Cuba is expected to drop 8.5% this year, amid Donald Trump's tighter restrictions on travel to the Caribbean island in a bid to force Cuba to accept reform and stop backing Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's controversial president, Reuters reported.
The US has banned cruise ships, private planes and yachts from travelling to Cuba and ended the category of educational travel, which had been heavily used. "These measures sparked a 20.33% reduction in tourist activity," the agencies quoted Marrero as saying during his speech to the National Assembly.
Moreover, Trump's decision to allow lawsuits in US courts against foreign companies that use properties confiscated by Cuba after the latter's 1959 revolution has also affected tourism, Marrero said.
The minister affirmed his country's keenness to continue developing the tourism sector despite the US measures. "A large part of the revenues we use weekly... comes from tourism," President Miguel Diaz-Canel told the National Assembly. "For this reason, we must continue counting on the development of tourism."