23:15 GMT +320 February 2019
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    Tourists visit the Old Havana, on December 16, 2015

    Number of US Tourists to Cuba Increases by 54%

    © AFP 2018 / YAMIL LAGE
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    US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said that the number of Americans visiting Cuba increased by 54 percent since Washington announcement to re-establish diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.

    WASHINGTON(Sputnik) — Cuba has seen a significant influx of tourists from the United States following the announcement to re-establish diplomatic relations between the two countries, US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters on Thursday.

    "There has been a 54 percent increase in the number of Americans visiting Cuba since that announcement," Rhodes said in a briefing.

    In December 2014, President Barack Obama announced the United States would normalize relations with Cuba. The two countries reopened embassies in their respective capitals in July 2015 after more than 50 years of hostilities and non-engagement.

    Moreover, the United States extended the list of citizens eligible to visiting the Caribbean island nation.

    On Tuesday, the US Department of Transportation said the two countries reached an agreement to restore scheduled air service. The Department invited US airlines to submit applications to provide scheduled passenger and cargo flights between the two countries by March 2.


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