Europe

Cuba sees tourism rise, French will renovate Havana airport

FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2014 file photo, people put their luggage in a private taxi as they arrive from the U.S. to the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba.  The rise in Cuba's tourism has strained the country's infrastructure, filling hotels to capacity and creating long waits at airport. The government announced Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016, that Aeroports de Paris, the French government-controlled firm that runs Charles de Gaulle, Orly and other Paris airports, would receive a concession to operate Jose Marti, which would be renovated by the French firm Bouygues. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2014 file photo, people put their luggage in a private taxi as they arrive from the U.S. to the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba. The rise in Cuba's tourism has strained the country's infrastructure, filling hotels to capacity and creating long waits at airport. The government announced Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016, that Aeroports de Paris, the French government-controlled firm that runs Charles de Gaulle, Orly and other Paris airports, would receive a concession to operate Jose Marti, which would be renovated by the French firm Bouygues. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)  (The Associated Press)

Cuban officials say more than 2 million tourists have visited Cuba this year, putting the country on track for a record number of visitors. They're bringing badly needed cash to an economy facing a sharp reduction in subsidized oil from Venezuela.

Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero says visitor numbers are running 12 percent ahead of last year, which already saw a record number of tourists. The surge is credited to a wave of international interest in Cuba prompted by the announcement of U.S.-Cuba detente in Dec. 2014. Visitor numbers are expected to get a major boost after commercial flights from the United States begin this month.

The government also announced Wednesday that the French government's Aeroports de Paris company will receive a concession to operate and renovate Havana's international airport.