What: Report Reveals the Severe Economic Impact of COVID-19 in the Caribbean
The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) latest Economic Impact Report has revealed the enormous toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on the Caribbean’s travel and tourism sector, costing the region’s economy $33.9 billion. Furthermore, the report shows that the region lost 680,000 travel and tourism jobs, representing almost a quarter of all employment in the sector and significantly impacting women, youth and minorities. Many of the islands were massively impacted by declines in visitor spending, which fell by 49.6% for domestic visitors and 68% for international arrivals.
Why It Matters: Caribbean Tourism’s Contribution to GDP Dropped by 58%
The report notes that the Caribbean tourism sector’s contribution to GDP dropped at a higher percentage than the global average, declining by a staggering 58%, with some individual islands faring much worse. The devastating socio-economic impact of the pandemic highlights the need for a clear path to opening the region more widely to international travel, according to the WTTC. The organization notes that the resumption of international travel this summer could provide a significant boost to the region’s GDP contribution.
- Travel and tourism’s impact on the Caribbean’s GDP fell from $58.4 billion (14.1%) in 2019 to $24.5 billion (6.4%) in 2020, according to the Economic Impact Report.
- The number of employees in the Caribbean tourism sector fell from nearly 2.76 million in 2019 to 2.08 million in 2020, a 24.7% drop.
What They Are Saying: A Swift Resumption of International Travel Is Needed
“WTTC believes that if restrictions on travel are relaxed before the busy summer season, alongside a clear plan to allow inbound visitors to return to the region once again, the 680,000 jobs lost across the Caribbean could return later this year,” said Virginia Messina, senior vice president of WTTC. “Another year of terrible losses can be avoided if governments support the swift resumption of international travel, which will be vital to powering the turnaround of the Caribbean economy. Our research shows that if mobility and international travel resume by June this year, the sector’s contribution to global GDP could rise sharply in 2021, by 48.5%, year-on-year.”
World Travel & Tourism Council