Tourism industry in Cuba is of the tune of over 4.7 million arrivals as per 2017 information. This is one of the main sources of revenue for Cuba. Cuba has been an attractive destination for tourists for long for its favorable climate, beaches, colonial architecture and distinct cultural history. Cuba possesses 253 protected areas, 257 national monuments, 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 7 Natural Biosphere Reserves and 13 Fauna Refuge among other non-tourist zones.
It was Spain's closest colony to the United States until 1898, in the first part of the 20th century. Due to this reason Cuba continued to take advantage of big investments, creation of industries, and travel to support mostly US interests and corporations. Its proximity and close relation to the United States also helped Cuba's market economy prosper fairly quickly. As relations between Cuba and the United States deteriorated rapidly after the Cuban Revolution and the resulting expropriation and nationalisation of businesses, the island became cut off from its traditional market by an embargo and a travel ban was imposed on U.S. citizens visiting Cuba. The tourist industry declined to record low levels within two years of Castro's accession to power. Unlike the US, Canada normalised relations with Cuba and Canadians increasingly visited Cuba for vacations. Approximately one third of visitors to Cuba each year (as per information of 2014) are Canadians. The Cuban government has moderated its state ownership policies and allowed for localised and small private business since 1980. It also pursues revitalisation programs aimed at boosting tourism. United States reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015 and the tourism industry is expected to gain a lot from normalised relations with US in future.
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