Caribbean travel and tourism sector shows faster recovery than other regions: WTTC

Research reveals that Caribbean GDP is expected to rise more than 47 per cent this year

The new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council has revealed that Caribbean’s travel and tourism sector is recovering at a faster rate than any other region in the world, with its contribution to GDP expected to rise more than 47 per cent this year as compared to 30.7 per cent globally.

WTTC, which represents the global travel and tourism private sector, says the recovery of the sector globally has been hindered by the lack of international coordination, severe travel restrictions and slower vaccination rates. However, the Caribbean is now benefitting from more relaxed restrictions around the world and low infection rates, which is, in turn, boosting international travel spending and aiding the region’s swift economic recovery.

While the global economy is set to receive a modest 30 per cent year on year increase from travel and tourism in 2021, representing USD 1.4 trillion and is mainly driven by domestic spending, the Caribbean region can expect a year-on-year increase of 47.3 per cent, representing an increase of nearly USD 12 billion, driven by both international and domestic travel spend. However, while the Caribbean is recovering faster than other regions, this is still below its performance in 2019, a record year for the sector, where travel and tourism represented more than 14 per cent of the region’s GDP contributing more than USD 58 billion to its economy. The research also reveals that at the current rate of recovery, travel and tourism’s contribution to the Caribbean economy could see a further year-on-year rise of 28.7 per cent in 2022, representing a boost of USD 10 billion.  

According to the research, the sector’s contribution to the region’s GDP and the rise in jobs could be more positive this year and next, if four vital measures are met by governments around the world. These measures include allowing fully vaccinated travellers to move freely, irrespective of their origin or eventual destination and the implementation of digital solutions which enable all travellers to easily prove their COVID status, in turn speeding up the process at borders around the world. The measures also include the recognition of all vaccines authorised by WHO and/or SRA, and the agreement from all relevant authorities that international travel is safe with enhanced health and safety protocols, as well as vaccine equity to ensure no region is left behind. 

“Our research clearly shows that while the global travel and tourism sector is slowly beginning to recover from the ravages of Covid-19, the Caribbean is recovering much faster than any other region. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic stole almost a quarter of all travel and tourism jobs from the region but due to a significant increase in international and domestic spend, both jobs and GDP are on the rise,” said Julia Simpson, President & CEO, WTTC.

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