Updated 08:56 AM EST, Fri, Jan 21, 2022

Cuba's Tourism Industry Strained by Influx of American Visitors

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Cuba's tourism has never been booming this much, but can the country handle it?

According to Reuters Africa, the tourism industry in the Caribbean country is currently under strain after the détente with the United States last year prompted a sudden influx of American tourists to Cuba.

Known for their rich culture, tropical weather and exotic sights, Cuba is now open for foreigners --including Americans -- to visit and trade in.

Effective on Wednesday, an amendment from Washington removed "restrictions on payment and financing terms for authorized exports and re-exports to Cuba of items other than agricultural items or commodities" in a bid to improve ties between the mainland and the Latin American nation, as reported by the International Business Times.

These changes now allow easier access to the country, paving the way for professional meetings and even media and artistic productions to be held in Cuba.

"Today's amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations build on successive actions over the last year and send a clear message to the world: the United States is committed to empowering and enabling economic advancements for the Cuban people," Treasury and Commerce Department Secretary Jack Lew declared in the statement.

While this development has been expected to improve the country's economy, it appears like the Caribbean island nation under communist rule is not prepared for it.

In fact, NBC described the tourism situation to be "heating up," as the country welcomed 3.52 million visitors last year. This marked a historical 17.4 percent increase compared to tourism statistics recorded in Cuba in 2014.

"Cuba is over the top with tourists right now. I've seen so many Americans, it's not even funny," 44-year-old Nashville resident Ana Fernandez told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Berlin schoolbook editor Gisela Hoiman was hoping to see the country "before it changes" as tourists arrive, but was disappointed to see masses of tourists flocking the airport.

"It was too much to handle, too many other tourists. We stood in line and were sent back and forth to different counters," she said, adding that it appears like the country is not prepared for the sudden influx of tourists.

According to Collin Laverty, the founder of Cuba Educational Travel, the tourism amenities and infrastructure in Cuba has already been "maxed out" after Americans bit off a huge chunk of the so-called "forbidden fruit," which remained out of their reach for the past decades --until now.

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