Tags: Cuba | travel | tourism | business

U.S. Firms Figure Cuba Travel Worth $1.1 Bln

Thursday, 17 Dec 2009 10:10 AM

U.S. tourism companies could take in at least $1.1 billion a year on trips to Cuba if Washington didn't ban most of its citizens from visiting the island, officials said Wednesday during a videoconference with American tour operators.

That figure includes $600 million in sales by airlines, $300 million for travel agents and $200 million in U.S. tourism-related exports and services, including food and drink items that could be sold to Cuba as well as spending on advertising to promote Cuba as a destination, said Miguel Figueras, a top aide to Cuban Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero.

Figueras provided few details on how Cuba arrived at the numbers, but pointed to a previous study by the American Society of Travel Agents in asserting that without travel restrictions, 1.8 million U.S. tourists would come to Cuba annually. That includes some 482,000 Cuban-Americans visiting relatives on the island, he said.

More than 2 million foreign tourists come to Cuba every year, with the biggest numbers from Canada, Britain, Italy, Spain and France.

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