Just as tourism was beginning to show signs of recovery, the Caribbean has been hit by a new wave of coronavirus infections that is causing lockdowns and flight cancellations and overwhelming hospitals.
Countries including Jamaica, Martinique, The Bahamas, Barbados, St. Lucia, and Dominica have seen a rise in cases fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant and a relaxation of earlier restrictions. Misinformation spread on social media has also contributed to a low vaccine uptake.
The Caribbean is one of the region’s most dependent on tourism, with nine countries in the world’s top 20, according to an index compiled by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Many experienced double-digit declines in gross domestic product (GDP) growth when COVID-19 struck, drying up tourism dollars, destroying jobs and hurting their balance of payments.