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    Drivers of "coco taxis" wait for customers in Havana, Cuba, Oct. 18, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 17 December 2019

Economy Minister informed that this Caribbean island will offer 4,000 new hotel capacities next year.

Cuba's Economy Minister Alejandro Gil Tuesday reported that his country will offer 4,000 new hotel rooms and receive about 4.5 million tourists in 2020, which represents an increase of about 200,000 visitors compared to 2019.

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Over the past two decades, tourism became an important activity on the Caribbean island, which received a greater incentive when Barack Obama’s administration allowed flights to Cuba in 2016.

With the arrival of Donald Trump to the presidency, however, the U.S. reactivated its efforts to prevent new and greater flows of monetary resources from entering Cuba.

In that sense, the Cuban minister said that his country failed to reach the "five-million-visitors" goal in 2019 because the U.S. banned cruise trips and limited commercial flights.

"In 2020, however, the country's exports will grow 3.7 percent, a figure which is positive but still insufficient to raise the levels of growth we require," Gil said.

"Those who now control the U.S. agenda towards Cuba seek to silence or cancel the opinions of many people who within the U.S. oppose the blockade and favor a respectful relationship between both countries, including the majority of Cuban citizens." The meme reads, “Honor is not bargained. The homeland is not bargained. Dignity is not bargained. Independence, sovereignty, history, glory are not bargained! Our Fidel.”

Currently, the Island's main exports are nickel, tobacco, rum, coal, sugar, and telecommunications. In 2020, the Cuban revolution is expected to develop new productive chains to increase its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and exports.

According to Minister Gil, his country's economy will grow slightly in 2019 despite the intensification of the U.S. blockade. Since 2017, the Trump administration has activated at least 244 measures against Cuba as part of the economic, trade, and financial blockade.

On Dec. 10, the U.S. put into effect another measure against Cuba: American, Delta, and JetBlue airlines will not be able to fly to nine international Cuban airports.

This decision, however, does not affect charter flights departing towards the Caribbean Island, which has already received four million tourists over 2019.

Tourism to this country has been favored by direct flights between Beijing and Havana since 2015. Previously, flights between China and Cuba would have to go via Spain, Germany, France or Mexico, which made the trip between these two countries take more 23 hours.

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