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Americans flock to Cuba in post-rapprochement tourism boom

Sunday, June 18, 2017

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HAVANA, Cuba (AFP) — Some 300,000 Americans flocked to Cuba in the first five months of 2017, nearly the same number as for all of last year, officials in Havana said on Wednesday.

Just two days before US President Donald Trump was due to announce a new policy rolling back a rapprochement initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama, the official Cubadebate website published figures showing a continuing boom in tourism from the United States.

Cuba's national statistics bureau in Havana said that by the end of May, some 284,565 Americans had travelled to Cuba this year.

By contrast, about 285,000 Americans visited the communist island in all of 2016 — a figure that was 74 per cent over 2015, with US residents the third biggest group after Canadians and Cuban expats.

Trump on Friday announced measures reversing some US efforts to reconcile with the communist-governed island.

Obama and President Raul Castro began the process of normalising ties in 2015, in a bid to set aside decades of Cold War enmity.

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