Cuba has been visited by 2 million foreign tourists so far in 2012, 5.3 percent more than in the same period of 2011, the Tourism Ministry said.

The number has now topped 2 million for the ninth straight year, and did so 20 days earlier than last year, according to the bulletin.

Canada continues being the leading source of tourists to Cuba, followed by Britain, Argentina, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Spain and Mexico.

In the first eight months of the year, tourists also arrived from the Netherlands, Colombia, Chile, Switzerland and Peru.

Cuba has some 60,000 rooms in roughly 300 hotels located the length and breadth of the archipelago, and promotes a tourism with sun, sea and sand leading the way, but also offers ecotourism, culture, health, congresses and more.

Tourism is a strategic sector in the plan of adjustments undertaken by the Cuban government to modernize its socialist economic model.

Cuba welcomed 2.7 million tourists in 2011, and for this year official projections point to as many as 2.9 million visitiors by year's end, despite the world economic crisis.

Tourism, Cuba's second-largest source of hard-currency earnings after technical and professional services, brought in $2.5 billion last year, an increase of 12.8 percent over 2010. EFE