Before 1959, tourism, especially from the US, was a major source of revenue. Foreign tourism declined in the 1960s, and Cuba's ornate and expensive hotels were used mainly by visiting delegations of workers and students. Renewed emphasis on international tourism characterized the 1976–80 development plan, under which 25 new hotels were opened. Today, the Cuban government actively promotes tourism as a means of offsetting the financial decline brought on by the collapse of the Soviet bloc.
Among Cuba's attractions are fine beaches; magnificent coral reefs, especially around the Isle of Youth; and historic sites in Old Havana (where some buildings date from the 17th century), Trinidad, and Santiago de Cuba. Passports and visas are required for nationals of countries that do not have visa-free agreements with Cuba. In June 1992, Cuba was admitted to the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
In 2000, 1,773,986 foreign visitors arrived in Cuba. Revenue from tourism reached US $1.7 billion.
In 2002, the US Department of State estimated the cost of staying in Havana at $166 per day. Guantánamo Bay is less expensive, requiring an estimated $58 in daily expenses.