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More Cubans Are Traveling Due To Less Restrictions

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In this Sept. 11, 2013, photo, Benito Perez is welcomed by friend Rogelia Ventura at his arrival at Miami International Airport, in Miami. Perez, who had never been on a plane, is one of thousands of Cubans traveling under new laws making travel slightly easier. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) | AP

HAVANA -- HAVANA (AP) — Cuban officials say travel abroad has risen 35 percent since the island's government loosened restrictions this year.

Col. Lamberto Fraga, an official in the immigration directorate of the Interior Ministry, says Cubans took 226,877 trips to other countries between Jan. 1 and Oct. 23. In mid-January the government eliminated a widely disliked requirement for an exit permit.

Fraga doesn't say how many trips were made off the island the previous year. He also doesn't provide the total number of people traveling this year — only the number of trips. He does say that 24,000 Cubans made at least two journeys this year.

He says the primary destination for travelers was the United States, followed by Mexico and Spain.

Fraga made his comments Monday.

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