HAVANA, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Cuba's renowned Varadero Beach, the Caribbean island's most developed resort, received a record 1.7 million foreign visitors in 2017, the Tourism Ministry said on Friday.
"The transparency of the water, whiteness of the sand, as well as the combination of blue shades and gentle underwater slope, make Varadero Beach the top attraction" in Cuba, the ministry said in a press release.
The ministry also cited "people-to-people exchange, (local) heritage and safety" as reasons visitors are drawn to the destination.
Located just 140 km east of the capital Havana, Varadero has fully recovered from the impact of Hurricane Irma, which lashed Cuba's northern coast in September, the ministry said.
Expanded hotel infrastructure has helped to increase visitor numbers, with the latest property to open being the Iberostar Bella Vista operated by the state-owned Gaviota Hotel Chain, in partnership with Iberostar. The addition increased the number of rooms to 21,388.
Tourism is Cuba's second-biggest source of foreign revenue, generating more than 2.5 billion U.S. dollars a year.
Cuba has received more than 4.7 million international visitors this year, and expects to reach the five-million mark in 2018.