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Caribbean travel and tourism industry

Caribbean heavy reliance on tourism underscored by new study

Jul 06, 2010

The Caribbean's travel and tourism industry is projected to earn US$11.68 billion and account for just under 600,000 jobs this year, underscoring its continuing importance to the region, a just-concluded industry impact study shows.

The study also projected good looking growth figures over the next 10 years, showing for example that the industry's contribution to the region's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would rise from this year's 3.7 per cent a year to 4.2 per cent a year.

But before that, the region will have to overcome the severe effects of the fallout caused by the recession in the United States which led to a 2.8 per cent drop in overnight visitor arrivals in 2009, "the worst performance since 2002".

The study was conducted by United Kingdom-based Oxford Economics for the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).

"Our research indicates that travel and tourism play a proportionately stronger role in both GDP and employment creation than in any other comparable region," Oxford Economics said.

"In 2010, we forecast that the direct tourism and travel industry will account for 3.7 per cent of total GDP, whilst for our broader travel and tourism economy measure -- which includes both direct and indirect effects along with the impact of investment, government collective consumption and merchandise exports related to travel and industry -- this share rises to 12.4 per cent.

"Both of these figures are higher than any other comparable region," the Oxford study said.

The breakout of figures found that overall the travel and tourism industry directly and indirectly employs 1.9 million people in the Caribbean, or one in every nine jobs.

Among the countries most impacted, the study found that Jamaica's travel and tourism industry employs 284,000 people, which is a whopping one in every four jobs. It also accounts for 27.7 per cent of the island's GDP, or US$3.7 billion.

Caribbean heavy reliance on tourism underscored by new study
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