Cuban tourism revenues were up nearly 13 percent in 2011 from the previous year, with 2.7 million visitors generating $2.5-billion on the communist-ruled island, the government said Thursday.
The country posted a $284-million increase from 2010 in the tourism sector, the second largest source of foreign currency for the troubled Cuban economy, after professional services, particularly the medical field.
The 12.8 percent increase in tourism revenues is the result of a 7.3-percent increase in the total number of tourists, the government said, noting that tourists are spending more.
Last year was a record-breaker for Cuban tourism, with increases in arrivals from Canada, Britain, Russia and Argentina.
The rise in tourism is "proof of growth in our competitiveness, boosted not only by the quality and diversity of our tourism offerings, but by the stability and security we provide," the tourism ministry said late last year.
The majority of tourists, one million, came from Canada - followed by Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany - according to the "2011 Economic and Social Outlook" published on the website of the national statistics office.
Cuba faced a major economic crisis following the fall of the Soviet Union and the economy has since been largely kept afloat by extensive aid from leftist President Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.