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Cuba to accept more flights from the United States

Cuba to accept more flights from the United States

Cuba has added nine further cities in the United States to a list of permitted departure points for travel to the Caribbean island.

Cuban travel agency Havanatur Celimar added Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, Houston and San Juan, Puerto Rico, to the list from where charter flights would be accepted.

The Caribbean destination has been seeking to rebuild its tourism sector in recent years as it struggles with a failing economy.

The island is also currently preparing for an increase in visitors for the United States following a loosening of travel restrictions by the Obama administration.

Changes include the lifting of all restrictions on Cuban Americans visiting their homeland.

Religious, academic and other professional travel by Americans to Cuba is also permitted.

However, regular commercial flights between the two countries remain banned.

Havana Celimar has a monopoly on the Cuban end of US charter flights and already receives travellers on flights from Miami, New York and Los Angeles.

Some 350,000 Cuban Americans visited Cuba in 2010 after the Obama administration lifted all restrictions on their travel.