The number of visits by US citizens to Cuba has increased 36% in the first five months of the year compared to the same period of 2014, according to data released Tuesday by the Associated Press. The figure, which includes travel through third countries to circumvent restrictions on tourist travel, comes from statistics provided by Jose Luis Perello Cabrera, professor at the University of Havana.
In the months that have followed the announcement of restoration of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana and easing of the rules governing the travel of US citizens to the island, Cuba received 51,458 visits from its neighbor to the north. Of this total, 38,476 traveled directly from the US, while another 12,982 did so through a third country (57% more than in 2014), mainly from Mexico, the Bahamas, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Between January and early May, visits to the Island from international travelers also rose, for an increase of 14% compared with the same period last year. A total of 1,547,104 tourists came from 206 regions, led by Germany (+ 22%), France (+ 25%), Great Britain (+ 26%) and Spain (+ 16%).
Americans who want to travel to the island must certify that their trip falls into one of 12 categories permitted by law, such as family visits, professional research and support for the Cuban people.
Travel between Cuba and the United States is facilitated by new air links, with maritime routes expected to join them shortly.