HAVANA.- (ACN) The tourism industry could contribute some 3 billion dollars to Cuban coffers, thanks to the 4 million visitors Cuba received in 2016, according to an expert.

Jose Luis Rodriguez, advisor at the Research Center of World Economy, said the 13 percent growth in terms of tourists should reflect on the total revenues of the industry, the most dynamic one in Cuban economy this last year.

He added that tourism was a boosting industry at a time when the GDP decreased 0.9 percent, thanks to the increase of flights from several countries, even the United States, and the arrival of more cruise ships.

The reestablishment of direct commercial flights from the US, stopped for over 50 years, contributed greatly to the arrival of Americans to Cuba, though those trips are restricted since US citizens cannot come as tourists, just under special licenses.

Also, cruise lines like MSC Armonia, Adonia, Europa II, Odissey, Saga Pearl II, Artemia, Saga Shapire, M/V Hamburg, Le Ponand, M/S Boudicca, Panorama II, Ocean Dream, Thomson Dream, MSC Opera, Sea Cloud, Star Flyer, Serenísima, Thot Heyerdahl and Celestial Cristal, started regular visits to several Cuban ports.