Number of holidaymakers to Cuba did not increased during Pope's visit
Havana and Santiago de Cuba in photos
Pope's trip to Cuba does not impact on tourism
The Senior Deputy Minister of the Cuban Ministry of Tourism said that the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the island has not caused a significant increase in the number of foreign tourists spending Cuba holidays.
Alexis Trujillo, Senior Deputy Minister of the Cuban Ministry of Tourism (Mintur), said during a press conference in Havana that with the Pope's visit, from 26th to 28th March 2012, the number of foreign visitors taking Cuba holidays has not increased.
The number of tourists, right now, is a "little higher" than usual, said the deputy minister. Trujillo also referred to the fact that last year about 77,000 Cubans living in the United States travelled to the island, compared to previous year's figures.
It was during a Mass in honour of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which took place in Mexico, that Pope Benedict XVI announced his visit to Cuba. He said he would travel to Cuba "to proclaim the Word of Christ there and to convince people that this is the time to evangelise with strong faith, living hope and burning charity."
The Pope's visit coincided with the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the apparition of the Virgen of La Caridad del Cobre (Our Lady Virgin of the Charity), Cuba's patron saint.
This journey was not only planned to strengthen the Catholic faith in the island, but it also helped bring together the Cuban Catholics who live on the island and faithful Cubans living abroad, especially in the United States.
During the pastoral tour, the Pope visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, which preserves the original image of the Virgin, found in the Bay of Nipe in 1612 in the province of Santiago de Cuba, and then went on to Havana. He performed masses in both cities' main plazas.
Pope Benedict XVI offered the first mass in the city of Santiago de Cuba, the second most important city in the island after capital city: Havana, famous for its people's rebel legacy during the Cuban history and perfect for enjoying adventure-filled eco Cuba holidays.
Then he celebrated his second mass in Havana, Cuba's capital city and the main economical, political and religious centre in the country, which has also become one of the most popular tourist hotspots and holiday destinations for cultural holidays in Cuba.
Cuban catholic and non catholic participated in both masses, as well as Cuban-Americans who travelled from other countries, especially from Florida, the United States.