14 Mar 2024 20:19

Cuba hopes to see tourist arrivals from Russia grow to 500,000 in coming years

MOSCOW. March 14 (Interfax) - The tourist flow to Cuba has doubled since the start of 2024 thanks to the launch of direct flights from Russia, and the Cuban authorities hope to see the annual number of visits by Russian tourists reach 500,000, Cuba's Minister of Tourism Juan Carlos Garcia Granda said.

"Thanks to our efforts, Rossiya Airlines began operating scheduled flights to Cuba in December 2023. And it is thanks to this work that we have seen a growth in tourist flows year-on-year of 208% since the beginning of 2024. We understand that 200,000 to 250,000 Russian tourists is not a very significant figure for Russia, but it is a large number for our country. We wish to grow tourist traffic from Russia to 500,000 in the coming years," Granda said at a press conference on Thursday.

Cuban authorities are working to increase the number of Russian cities from which Cuba-bound flights are operated, he said.

"During this visit, we plan to come to an agreement on launching flights to Cuba from St. Petersburg," he said.

At this point, the load factor for flights with tourists heading to Varadero, Cayo Coco, and Havana is at 94%, Granda said.

In 2023, 184,800 Russian tourists visited Cuba, a 3.4-fold increase from 2022. Last year was record-breaking in terms of Russian tourist arrivals in Cuba. In 2019, only 178,000 Russian tourists visited the country.