Havana: US tourism to Cuba grew nearly threefold in 2017 over the previous year, mainly due to relaxation of travel ban.

Cuba registered a total of 1,173,428 US arrivals last year, a 191-per cent increase over 2016, Josefina Vidal, general director of the US division of Cuba's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

The figure includes both US citizens, whose arrival saw a 217.4-per cent increase, and Cubans residing in America, which grew 137.8-per cent year-over-year, reports Xinhua news agency.

Vidal helped negotiate the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two former Cold War foes in July 2015, which led to a relaxation in travel restrictions barring US citizens from access to Cuba.

Analysts note that while American tourism picked up considerably following the thaw in bilateral ties under former US President Barack Obama, the trend may not hold as the administration of Donald Trump works to scale back the rapprochement and re-impose travel restrictions.

Tourism is Cuba's second-biggest source of foreign revenue. Total international tourism to Cuba exceeded 4.7 million people in 2017, according to the country's Ministry of Tourism. (IANS)