Monocle visited Havana in 2011 and posed a question: "How do we develop Cuba without ruining it?" As Cuban-US relations warm, more tourists are flocking to Havana to see the city before a feared mass invasion of holiday visitors from the north; there is concern that Cuba might lose its unique charm. Cuban officials estimate that 1.5 million Americans would visit annually if all restrictions were removed, potentially adding some $2bn (€1.8bn) a year to state coffers.
Tourism is already an industry that generates more than $2.6bn (€2.4bn) for the nation and has been a key part of the Cuban economy. In 2014 the country welcomed a record three million visitors. Cubans are generally welcoming the increase in tourism: privately run B&Bs and diners have sprouted – a necessary addition to the government’s 64,000 hotel rooms and restaurants – and Havana’s airport is set to undergo a $207m (€190bn) expansion. Despite this, Havana is struggling to meet the needs of visitors as it is during the December-April high season. With only more tourists to come, Monocle’s question back in 2011 rings truer than ever.