Havana, April 28 : Just over 48 percent of foreign tourists who visited Cuba in the first quarter of 2012 came from Canada, according to figures released Friday by the National Statistics Office, or ONE.
The number of international visitors to the Caribbean island between January and March 2012 was 952,777, representing a growth of 5.3 percent over the same period last year.
According to ONE figures, Canada remained the leading source of tourists to the island during that quarter with 459,466.
Far behind in second place were the 37,191 French tourists who came to Cuba in the first months of the year, an increase of 7.5 percent.
Argentina, with 37,130 visitors, was the third source of tourists to Cuba and first in Latin America. Next came Britain with 35,837, Italy with 35,064, Germany with 33,417, and Russia with 27,830.
Spanish tourists came in eighth in the number of foreign visitors with 17,685 in the first quarter of 2012, or 36.5 percent fewer than those who travelled to Cuba in the same period last year.
In 2011, Cuba welcomed a record 2.7 million tourists.
Tourism, the second-largest sector for revenues in foreign currency after technical and professional services, has topped $2.1 billion in each of the last two years.
Cuba is hoping to receive almost 3 million foreign tourists in 2012.