(Relaxnews) - Relaxed travel rules to Cuba have resulted in a record number of Americans travelling to the island country over the last few years and have also placed Havana at the top of a newly released list ranking the top-rising destinations around the world.
According to the latest travel report out of TripAdvisor, the Cuban capital -- also a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- took the top spot for seeing the greatest increase in positive traveller feedback and traveller interest.
Havana beat out 53 other destinations around the world, including La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica and Kathmandu, Nepal, which took second and third place respectively.
According to figures from Cuba’s national statistics office, about 98,000 Americans travelled to the island nation in 2012 -- more than double the numbers of 2007 (40,520).
A US trade embargo bars US citizens from travelling to the island without government permission.
However, President Barack Obama loosened travel restrictions in 2011 under a “people-to-people” program that allows Americans to travel to the country with licensed tour companies on cultural, education-based trips.
“Recently...Havana has been experiencing a cultural renaissance, as the city shakes off the cobwebs and pours resources into resorts and hotels,” reads a short synopsis from TripAdvisor.
“Whether you prefer to hot-step it in a salsa club, tour a cigar factory or sip a mojito in one of Hemingway’s haunts, energy buzzes in and around Havana’s historic city centre, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here are the top 10 destinations on the rise according to TripAdvisor users:
#10 Fortaleza, BrazilTripAdvisor
#9 Corralejo, SpainTripAdvisor
#8 Hanoi, VietnamTripAdvisor
#7 Sapporo, JapanTripAdvisor
#6 Ambergris Caye, BelizeTripAdvisor
#5 Cusco, PeruTripAdvisor
#4 Jerusalem, IsraelTripAdvisor
#3 Kathmandu, NepalTripAdvisor
#2 La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa RicaTripAdvisor
#1 Havana, CubaTripAdvisor
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