Cuban tobacco industry sees rise in tourism

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Cuban tobacco industry sees rise in tourism
In this Feb. 27, 2016 photo, Raul Valdes Villasusa, 76, smokes a cigar as he collects tobacco leaves on his farm in Vinales in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Farmers earn money from the government for their tobacco crop, and keep a small portion for their own use. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 25, 2016 photo, workers use both a horse-drawn cart and classic American car, to transport freshly collected tobacco leaves to a barn in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. The tobacco leaves will be hung to dry for almost two months before being sent off for cleaning and eventually rolled into cigars. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 26, 2016 photo, a worker takes a break under drying tobacco leaves at the Montesino tobacco farm in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. The Montesino farm has been in the same family for three generations and is one of the most renowned Cuban tobacco producers. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 26, 2016 photo, a man gives a girl a ride to school on the back of his bicycle in Vinales in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, where tobacco is the main crop. Despite the flood of visitors since Cuba and the U.S. reestablished relations, some aspects of life in the provinces central Vinales valley have changed little. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this March 1, 2016 photo, women select and clean tobacco leaves inside a state-run warehouse in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. After the central vein is removed from each dried leaf, they're dipped in ammonium and water and dried again for at least two months. The more years the leaves are allowed to dry, like wine, the more valuable they are considered by cigar enthusiasts, and called "reserve" cigars. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 26, 2016 photo, Jorge Luis Leon Becerra, 43, waits on his oxcart for workers to bring their freshly picked tobacco leaves before takinge them to a warehouse for drying at the Martinez tobacco farm in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Unseasonably heavy rains have damaged Cuba's tobacco crop and raised questions about iconic cigar brands that some aficionados hope will not suffer from declining quality amid higher demand. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 27, 2016 photo, Raul Valdes Villasusa, 76, shows his hands, hardened by years of work on his tobacco farm in Vinales in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Villasusa, who grew up on his family's farm, said his operation is organic, not using any chemicals on his crop. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 27, 2016 photo, Yoberlan Castillo Garcia waits as one of his horses drinks water on the small tobacco farm he runs with his brother-in-law in Vinales in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Garcia said they call the horses they rent to tourists "automatics" because they return on their own. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 25, 2016 photo, a chicken looks at a freshly slaughtered pig that will be cooked up for tourists expected to visit the farm the next day on the Montesino tobacco farm in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Despite the flood of visitors since Cuba and the U.S. reestablished relations, some aspects of life in the provinces central Vinales valley have changed little. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 26, 2016 photo, residents travel in a former school bus to the center of the town of Vinales in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, where tobacco farming is the main crop. Despite the flood of visitors since Cuba and the U.S. reestablished relations, some aspects of life in the provinces central Vinales valley have changed little. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 26, 2016 photo, a tobacco worker spends the late afternoon grazing his horse on the roadside after hsi workday on the Yoandri Hernandez tobacco farm in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Workers say theyre eager to see more benefits of Cubas increasing links to the outside world since the start of new relations with U.S., without losing the placid lifestyle of the last half-century. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 25, 2016 photo, Marcelo Montesino, 92, right, and his son Eulogio Montesino, 55, pose inside the building where they dry tobacco leaves on their Montesino tobacco farm in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Eulogio, who said his father has the "health of steel" thanks to eating farm-grown organic food his entire life, hopes to one day create a cigar brand named in his father's honor. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 26, 2016 photo, Jorge Luis Leon Becerra moves freshly picked tobacco leaves to a building where they will be dried on the Martinez tobacco farm in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Farmers in Cubas tobacco country are benefiting from the tourist boom since the U.S. and Cuba reestablished relations by converting their farms into tourist attractions. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 27, 2016 photo, Andres Alvarez Hernandez holds his fighting cock while picking up powdered milk at a government-run store, paid for with a ration card, in Vinales in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Hernandez, the nephew of a local tobacco farmer, works at a national park and is training his first cock to fight. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 26, 2016 photo, a tobacco farm worker walks home after his workday in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Workers say theyâre eager to see more benefits of Cubaâs increasing links to the outside world since the start of new relations with U.S., without losing the placid lifestyle of the last half-century. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this March 1, 2016 photo, workers play cards during their lunch break between drying tobacco leaves at a warehouse in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. The leaves are brought here to "breath" after being previously dipped in ammonium and water, and dried for at least two months. Depending on the leaf, tobacco is left to "breath" in a dark space from anywhere between two months to several years. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 27, 2016 photo, Yoberlan Castillo Garcia, 30, poses for a portrait in the doorway of the barn where tobacco leaves are dried on his family's farm in Vinales in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. The barn, made of dried palm leaves and wood, is also where they park a motorcycle and horse riding equipment. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 26, 2016 photo, a classic American car passes the Francisco Blanco tobacco farm in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. While foreign sales rose healthily last year, Cuban cigar industry officials say they have seen little impact on domestic sales from a boom in tourism that has brought hundreds of thousands of new visitors to Havana. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this March 1, 2016 photo, a picture of revolutionary hero Ernesto "Che" Guevara decorates a the wall inside a state-run warehouse where workers select tobacco leaves in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Tobacco operations receive tourists on group visits organized by state tourism agencies and foreigners by the hundreds receive lectures on Cuban tobacco. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 25, 2016 photo, workers sacrifice a pig to be cooked up for tourists expected to visit the farm the next day on the Montesino tobacco farm in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Despite the flood of visitors, some aspects of life in the provinceâs central Vinales valley have changed little. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 27, 2016 photo, Raul Valdes Villasusa shows tobacco that was grown without artificial fertilizers on his tobacco farm, inside a building where leaves are dried in Vinales in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. His farm forms part of a co-op of tobacco farmers who sell their crop to the government and keep a small portion for themselves. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 27, 2016 photo, Yoberlan Castillo Garcia walks in the cold morning air to his small tobacco farm in Vinales in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Garcia, 30, said he's been running the farm with his brother-in-law for the last 10 years. As he walked to check on the land, his brother-in-law took tourists on a tour of their farm by horse. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In this Feb. 26, 2016 photo, a soldier climbs up a truck that stopped for him to join residents commuting home after the workday in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, where tobacco farming is the main crop. Despite the flood of visitors since Cuba and the U.S. reestablished relations, some aspects of life in the provinceâs central Vinales valley have changed little. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
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Unseasonably heavy rains have damaged Cuba's tobacco crop and raised questions about iconic cigar brands that some aficionados hope will not suffer from declining quality amid higher demand.

While foreign sales rose healthily last year, Cuban cigar industry officials say they have seen little impact on domestic sales from a boom in tourism that has brought hundreds of thousands of new visitors to Havana.

Tobacco operations receive tourists on group visits organized by state tourism agencies and foreigners by the hundreds receive lectures on Cuban tobacco.

Despite the flood of visitors since Cuba and the U.S. reestablished relations, some aspects of life in the provinces central Vinales valley have changed little.

Workers say they're eager to see more benefits of Cuba's increasing links to the outside world since the start of new relations with U.S., without losing the placid lifestyle of the last half-century.

Five Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Cuba

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