jueves, 4 de agosto de 2016

Cuba sees tourism rise, French will renovate Havana airport

Cuba sees tourism rise, French will renovate Havana airport

More than 2 million tourists have visited Cuba this year, state media
said Wednesday, putting the country on track for a record number of
visitors bringing badly needed cash to an economy facing a sharp
reduction in subsidized oil from its chief ally, Venezuela.
BY ANDREA RODRIGUEZ AND MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN
Associated Press

HAVANA
More than 2 million tourists have visited Cuba this year, state media
said Wednesday, putting the country on track for a record number of
visitors bringing badly needed cash to an economy facing a sharp
reduction in subsidized oil from its chief ally, Venezuela.

Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero said visitor numbers were running 12
percent ahead of those last year, which already saw a record number of
tourists. The surge is credited to a wave of international interest in
Cuba prompted by the announcement of U.S.-Cuba detente in Dec. 2014.
Visitor numbers are expected to get a major boost after commercial
flights from the United States begin this month.

The rise in tourism has strained Cuba's infrastructure, filling hotels
to capacity and creating long waits at Havana's Jose Marti International
Airport. The government announced Wednesday that Aeroports de Paris, the
French government-controlled firm that runs Charles de Gaulle, Orly and
other Paris airports, would receive a concession to operate Jose Marti,
which would be renovated by the French firm Bouygues.

The announcement contained no details but updating the airport to
receive hundreds of thousands more tourists a year will almost certainly
become of the most important infrastructure projects in Cuba, and the
largest French-Cuban deal since President Francois Hollande visited the
island in May 2015.

A spokesman for Aeroports de Paris declined immediate comment.

Marrero said Cuba expects to receive 3.8 million tourists this year.
Josefina Vidal, Cuba's head of U.S. relations, said on Twitter Wednesday
that 138,000 Americans visited in the first half of 2016, an 80 percent
increase that made the U.S. the second-largest source of visitors after
Canada.

Cuba has become increasingly dependent on tourism as Venezuela has cut
back on the supply of cheap oil sent in exchange for Cuban doctors to
staff neighborhood medical clinics. President Raul Castro warned last
month that the country faced sharply slower growth this year, and the
economy expanded by a mere 1 percent in the first half of 2016.

Cuba has begun cutting back on energy use, primarily in government
offices, where workers are being told to leave early and cut back on air
conditioning.

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Andrea Rodríguez on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ARrodriguezAP

Michael Weissenstein on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ARrodriguezAP

Source: Cuba sees tourism rise, French will renovate Havana airport | In
Cuba Today - http://www.incubatoday.com/news/article93510997.html

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