Almost seven million U.S. tourists traveled to the Caribbean from January through July 2014, a group Cuba can not attract, given the blockade imposed on the island by the United States, for over 50 years.
Tourism is among the sectors most vulnerable to the economic, commercial and financial blockade, established by Washington in order to cause “hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the Cuban government,” according to the memorandum issued in 1960 by Lester Mallory, deputy assistant secretary of state.
Due to the blockade, the island’s tourism industry can not access the U.S. market, principal emissary of tourists to the Caribbean, stated Abelardo Moreno, vice minister of Foreign Relations.
At the Solidaridad con Panamá Elementary School, in the Havana municipality of Boyeros, Moreno presented a report on the blockade, which will be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly for approval, on October 28.
The document states that cruise activities are the most affected, given that ships do not dock at Cuban ports because of the blockade, which also prevents greater use of marina and nautical facilities throughout the island.
In addition, the extraterritorial character of the blockade affects Cuban travel agencies operating in other emissary countries, such as in the case of the Havanatur offices in Canada.
Tour operators Hola Sun Holidays, Limited and Canada Inc. Caribe Sol were obliged to pay additional costs for credit card processing, in excess of the 1.6% applicable to other agencies based in Ottawa, stated the report entitled “The need to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America on Cuba.”
According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), of the 14 million tourists who visited the region in the first half of 2014, 6,870,000 arrived from the U.S. a figure which positions the nation as the region’s strongest market.
Industry experts emphasize that the small number of arrivals to Cuba is due, evidently, to reasons beyond the tourism industry’s control, and that if the blockade were lifted, Cuba would experience trends similar to those of the rest of the Caribbean. (AIN)