HAVANA.- Cuban Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero reported the country will close the current year with some 4.75 million tourists, an amount that doesn’t fulfill forecasts, mainly due to restrictions to US travelers and the affectations of the 2017 hurricane.

In a meeting with the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Marrero also announced that Cuba will have byb the end of the year 5,357 new hotel rooms, 800 more than planned thanks to the enterring in operations of the new International Hotel in Varadero.

Another highlight of the report is the opening of the Segundo Frente Hotel, in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, meant to provide lodgment to nature lovers, a boost to ecotourism in the island.

The Minister said that surveys carried out with tourists showed the main reasons to come to Cuba are its beaches, culture, people and safety. The quality of services and the abovementioned factors guaranteed that 39.07 percent of visitors return once or more to the country.

Diaz-Canel praised the investments made in tourism in recent years that allowed the country to receive close to five million visitors a year, a 15 time-fold of the amounts Cuba had in the 1990s.