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Surge of American Travelers Strains Cuba’s Tourism Industry

Flashback: Americans Visit Cuba After Travel Ban is Lifted 1:41

While U.S.- Cuba relations thaw, Cuba's tourism industry is heating up. The island is under unprecedented strain and struggling to meet demand with record numbers of American travelers.

Once a rare sight, Americans are now swarming Old Havana's colonial squares and narrow streets along with Europeans and Canadians.

Cuba's rich musical traditions, famed cigars and classic cars were for decades off limits to most Americans under Cold War-era sanctions, but those restrictions are fading.

RELATED: U.S. Eases Some Travel, Trade Rules on Doing Business in Cuba

Entrepreneurs and hustlers have responded by upping prices on taxi rides, meals, and trinkets. Cuban women are now charging $5 instead of $1 to pose for pictures in colorful dresses and head wraps.

Cuba received a record 3.52 million visitors last year, up 17.4 percent from 2014. American visits rose 77 percent to 161,000, not counting hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans.

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