Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Cuba: IMF - US policy relaxation boosts tourism

When Cuba gets a positive assessment of its tourism potential from an International Monetary Fund (IMF) specialist on the Caribbean, this is more than just a compliment, Xinhua informs.

Rafael Barreiro Romeu, an economist with the IMF Western Hemisphere Department who forecasts development trends for the Caribbean and Latin America, has spotted Cuba's potential to lead the tourism trend in the Caribbean.

While attending an international conference on globalization and development problems in Havana, the IMF specialist told Xinhua that whereas the entire Caribbean region experienced a slump of incoming tourists due to the global economic crisis, and due to the recession in the United States in particular, Cuba has seen an opposite trend.

The Caribbean island state has registered an increase in the number of tourists in 2009, Barreiro Romeu told Xinhua during an interview on the sidelines of the Havana conference.

The IMF specialist attributed Cuba's increase in tourists to the policy relaxation of the new U.S. government. This policy relaxation has encouraged more Cubans residing in the United States to visit the island country.

He said Cuba could benefit even more from this encouraging trend by modifying the country's prohibitive customs policy toward Cubans living overseas.

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