The Associated Press
Tourism to Cuba increased 8 percent in 2004 compared with 2003, despite new U.S. restrictions sharply cutting back on how many Americans visit the island.
More than 2 million tourists visited the Caribbean island, the largest number ever, Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero announced.
Last year, about 1.9 million foreigners visited Cuba. Canadians top the list of tourists, followed by Europeans, primarily from Italy, France, Germany and Spain.
Marrero told reporters tourism now represents 41 percent of Cuba’s foreign exchange income—a leap from just 4 percent in 1990.
Few of those now visiting Cuba come from the United States.
By mid-September, visits to the island, primarily by Cuban-Americans, had dropped 25 percent since the United States implemented new travel restrictions June 30 cutting the number of authorized family visits to Cuba from once a year to once every three years.