Collaboration is Key to Create Over 1.3 Million Caribbean Jobs: WTTC

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed that the Caribbean travel and tourism sector is expected to create 1.34 million jobs over the next 10 years if governments and the private sector enhance intra-regional cooperation and become a single voice. The projections were part of WTTC's “Travel & Tourism in the Caribbean: Prospects for Growth,” debuted at its Sustainability and Investment Summit in Puerto Rico. The report addresses key challenges that the islands face and sets clear recommendations to maximize the growth potential of the Caribbean.

The Caribbean is heavily reliant on travel and tourism, and international travelers. In 2019, travel and tourism sector’s contribution to the region’s GDP was 13.9 percent ($ 61.5 billion), falling to just 7.1 percent ($28.8 billion) in 2020, which represented a staggering 53.2 percent loss. The sector also supported more than 2.7 million jobs across the region, before experiencing a staggering 25.8 percent, dipping to 2.1 million in 2020, suffering a higher decline than the global average.

Per WTTC's latest report, the sector’s contribution to GDP is likely to grow at an average rate of 6.7 percent annually over the next decade, outstripping the region’s overall economy growth. The Caribbean travel and tourism sector’s contribution to the region’s GDP could reach over $100 billion by 2032. To achieve this, the global tourism body says stronger collaboration across the Caribbean region, investment in infrastructure, improved air connectivity and investing in the workforce will be critical as the Caribbean competes with other parts of the world.

Collaboration with the private sector, along with tourism industry organizations such as the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) and other local associations will also be key to achieving this long-term growth. The report highlights how sustainability and protecting nature are also key elements which will enhance resilience for the future and will accelerate its recovery. It analyses the travel and tourism sector’s impact on the region, besides post-pandemic recovery and key challenges and recommendations to ensure a sustainable future for the region.

Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, said: “The Caribbean region is the bedrock of international travel. Its economies and future rely heavily on travel and tourism.”

“Over the next decade travel and tourism in the Caribbean could grow 6.7 percent annually and be worth $100 billion by 2032. This would create 1.3 million new jobs, totaling 3.8 million people employed by our sector.

“But to achieve a long-term, sustained recovery, governments must work together to focus on connectivity, sustainable infrastructure and attracting investment by cutting red tape and taxes.”

WTTC’s latest “Economic Impact Report” also showed that 2021 saw the beginning of the recovery for the Caribbean travel and tourism sector, which recorded the second-fastest recovery of all regions, that saw its contribution to GDP grow by 36.6 percent, to reach over $39 billion (9.1 percent of the total economy).

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