Nearly 300,000 Americans have traveled to Cuba in the first five months of 2017, a 145% jump over a year, the official Cubadebate news portal said on Wednesday.
This figure is revealed as US President Donald Trump is expected to announce on Friday, from Miami, adjustments to the historic rapprochement with Cuba initiated by his predecessor Democrat Barack Obama, especially in the tourism sector.
“At the end of May, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and Information, 284,565 Americans have visited Cuba, a figure almost equal to the number of visitors to this country throughout 2016,” Cubadebate said.
Between January and May 2016, 116,004 Americans had traveled to Cuba. They were travelers in one of the 12 categories of US citizens allowed to visit the communist island.
US tourists still can not travel to Cuba individually but the Obama administration has relaxed restrictions on travel for educational, cultural, sporting or religious purposes. The two former enemies of the Cold War resumed their diplomatic relations in 2015.
By 2016, Cuba had welcomed 284,937 visitors from the United States, 74% more than in 2015.