Cuba’s revenue from tourism grows 4 pct

International tourism generated $1.08 billion in revenues for Cuba in the first half of 2014, an increase of 4 percent over the same period last year, the National Statistics and Information Office, or ONEI, said Tuesday.

Cuba earned a total of $1.8 billion from tourism last year.

The tourism sector is the second largest source of foreign currency for Cuba after the export of services.

In the first six months of 2014, the arrival of foreign visitors grew 3.7 percent to 1.66 million, compared with 1.59 million during the same period in 2013.

Canada, Germany, Britain, Italy and France remain Cuba’s principal tourist markets, while Argentina, in sixth place, is its biggest source of tourists among Latin American countries.

In 2013, Cuba welcomed 2.85 million travelers, which represented a modest increase of 0.5 percent over the previous year, but for this year, the island set itself the goal of attracting more than 3 million visitors.

Official Cuban media have acknowledged, however, that with its current rate of growth, the sector is unlikely to achieve that goal.

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