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TTC Special: Caribbean tourism needs more “unity”

Photo: WTTC.

By Frank Martin

The World Travel and Tourism Council, WTTC, defended a substantial “improvement” in unity of governments and private sector around tourism at regional levels, including the Caribbean, in order to create 1.34 million of tourism jobs in coming years.

WTTC, a broad travel and tourism industry forum, is made up of members of the global business community.

The proposed objective is to “work” with the governments in order to improve advance possibilities for international tourist industry.  WTTC is the only forum that represents the private sector in all segments of the industry worldwide.

In a recent summit held in Puerto Rico, WTTC analyzed the Caribbean regional growth  challenges. The report analyzed the key challenges facing the Caribbean islands and setting out recommendations to expand their regional potential.

The organization showed statistics on the islands about the 2019 tourism industry’s contribution to the region’s GDP that was 13.9% (US$61.5 billion), falling to just 7.1% (US$28.8 billion) in 2020.

The Caribbean tourism branch generated more than 2.7 million jobs before experiencing a 25.8% drop, and falling to 2.1 million in 2020, a drop greater than the world average, the report estimated.

According to calculations published in the report, the sector’s contribution to GDP could grow at an average rate of 6.7% per year over the next decade, exceeding general regional economic growth.

In this context, the share of Caribbean travel and tourism in the region’s GDP could reach more than US$100 billion by 2032.

Experts consulted said that such figures would mean leaving behind the serious effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in that part of the world.

WTTC maintains that much stronger collaboration will be needed in the Caribbean.

That cooperation would have to occur, warned, in investments in infrastructure, in improvements to air connectivity and in a broader investment in the workforce.

That kind of platform for progress will need the strongest cooperation between the private sector and governments, estimated.

This collaboration would enable a Caribbean growth of 6.7% per year in the next decade.

This would create 1.3 million new jobs for a total of 3.8 million employed people.

In the period 2020 and 2023, the accumulated losses in the Caribbean due to the pandemic would be, according to forecasts, between 53,000 million and 75,400 million dollars, according to estimates by ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America).

One consideration of that organization -one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations- is that the Caribbean could be the relatively most affected subregion among others analyzed in America, given its smaller population and the weight of tourism in its economies, and that the losses would have negative consequences on the level of employment in the sector.

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