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Thaw in Relations Leads to Increase of US Tourists to Cuba
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  • http://english.dbw.cn   2015-06-01 10:44:57
     

    Tourists from the United States stroll around Havana, Cuba on April 6, 2015.[ Photo:CFP]

    The thawing of relations between the US and Cuba has led to a sharp increase in American visitors to the island.

    However, this is raising concerns about a potential loss of Cuba's culture.

     

    Tourists from around the world have been flocking to Cuba, anxious to explore th country before it's overwhelmed by US visitors.

    "I think all of them came like we did before they opened it up to everyone. We wanted to see Cuba in its natural setting, with its culture that exists and we're so afraid that in a number of years once they open this up to the United States it's going to be just thousands and thousands of American tourists coming here."

    In December, US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced plans to restore diplomatic relations, which were severed in 1961.

    While the decades-long US economic embargo remains in place and general tourism is still illegal, the Obama administration has eased restrictions on travel and commerce.

    Stats show the rapprochement between the US and Cuba has led to a 36-percent increase in visits by Americans to the island through the first three-months of this year compared to the year before.

    Dozens of buses, transporting hundreds of tourists from around the world now pack Havana's historic sites every day.

    Visitors have been flocking to the country's historic buildings and squares, snapping pictures and visiting Havana's picturesque neighbourhoods.

    However, it's led to fears that Cuba's culture - untouched by the influence of the United States because of the decades of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation - may now be eroded.

    Alexander Nodarse is a local tour guide,

    "Many people are certain that will be changes in Cuba. If you talk with an American they told you that the changes will be an avalanche, not only of persons but commercial too, the most common phrase its: I want to see Cuba before McDonald's came."

    Some are suggesting Cuba may eventually become like Key West, a cruise-ship stop and tourist haven at Florida's southernmost point.

    "They shouldn't change their culture, they should stay exactly the way they are and that will make it special. But if it becomes like Key West did, it's just a tourist trap, and it takes away all the charm that exist."

    However, Morejon with tour agency Total Caribbean Experience, says they remains confident Cuba will remain as visitors see it today.

    "Cuba will be my Cuba the whole time. Cuba will be Cubans, Cuba will be Rumba, Rumba will be Santeria, with all the history and the culture of Cuba."

    Cuba's economy has been severely restricted because of the US trade embargo.

     

     

    Author:    Source: CRI     Editor: Yang Fan

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