Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bad business

The number of tourists visiting Cuba is down.

According to official figures, the total number of visitors to the island fell from 2.3 million in 2005 to 2.2 million last year - the first drop in numbers since the September 11 attacks on the United States.

This is bad news for the Castro regime, which controls the tourist industry and which relies on visitors for much-needed hard currency.

And the reason for the drop in numbers?

The scare about dengue fever last year had somewhat of an impact but according to this report by Reuters, the drop in visitors had nothing to do with the US embargo, let alone concerns about political instability surrounding Fidel Castro's illness.

No, it's a matter of value.

Travel agents interviewed said Cuba appeared to be losing business to other Caribbean destinations due to high prices, the lack of adequate service for tourists, theft of luggage at airports and hotels, and a failure by the Cubans "to attend to complaints".

"Cancun and the Dominican Republic offered better deals," a Canadian diplomat said.

In other words, greed and inefficiency.


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