Havana, Jan 22 (IANS/EFE) Cuba greeted more than 2.7 million tourists in 2011, a figure cited by official media and said to set a record for the sector, the island’s second biggest source of revenue in foreign currencies.
Cuba’s National Statistics Office, or ONE, said that 2,716,317 foreign visitors landed on the island last year.
The official AIN news agency Friday cited Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero as saying this week at a tourism fair in Madrid that the island closed 2011 with a 7.3 percent increase in foreign visitors over 2010.
The minister also said that several countries posted records for the number of their nationals who vacationed in Cuba, led by Canada with more than 1 million, and included Britain, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and Russia.
Tourism, the second biggest source of foreign-currency revenues for the Cuban economy after technical and professional services, has taken in more than $2.1 billion annually over the last few years.
The Caribbean island for the first time topped the number of 2.5 million foreign tourists last year, while official projections point to almost 3 million in 2012.