Sunny days for Cuban tourism


Tourism, Cuba's main foreign exchange earner, has recovered from a post-September 11 decline that slowed the Caribbean island's efforts to pull out of economic crisis, the Tourism Ministry announced.

As of June-end, a million tourists had visited the Cuba this year, a 16 percent increase compared with the same period in 2002, the ministry said.

"Last year arrivals reached one million on July 29, while in 2001, the best year to date for the industry, the number was achieved on June 30," the official business weekly, Opciones, said.

Foreign companies, such as France's Accor and Spain's Sol Melia, manage the majority of five-star and four-star hotels in Cuba.

"Summer bookings from Britain and other European destinations are above expectations," Eric Peyre, Cuban sales director for the French hotel company Accor, recently told Reuters.

Peyre said Cuba had not felt the drop in US tourists.