CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES: CHANGE OF STRATEGY NEEDED

Sara Thopson - Jul 27, 2009
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Tourism industry world wide suffers because of the global economic crisis. Even such a popular destination as the Caribbean needs to prepare for the crisis. Local governments need to address existing problems to remain competitive.

 

The Caribbean is a world wide known and world wide popular tourism region. Cruise tourism, pristine beaches as well as UNESCO world heritage sites lure tourists in here in any season. However, as most of the regions around the world, the Caribbean faces the impacts of the global economic crisis.

This year’s drop in tourism has negative impacts on the local economies that heavily depend on tourism. It is expected that the tourism industry will contribute approximately 14.5 per cent to the Caribbean GDP and that it will represent 12 per cent of employment in the region this year. In some Caribbean countries, the numbers will be even higher.

Despite the clear dependence on the tourism industry, according to experts the local governments don’t take sufficient measures to improve the situation in the sector. Tourism infrastructure in many regions needs reconstructing and there is a need of quality schools that would provide education to future tourism employees.

The Caribbean tourism sector in general often does not sufficiently utilize the local product and rather uses high-cost imported goods. The region also faces rise in prices of food and energy. In addition, the current trend of increasing the taxes may be a problem. Heightening taxes may bring higher revenues in short term but it is a rather bad long term strategy. Increased levels of taxation may eventually scare tourists away and make the region uncompetitive. According to some critics the region thus needs to make steps to stay competitive or otherwise tourists may decide to travel to other destinations like e.g. Brazil.

 

Related:

CRUISE LINES RETURN TO MEXICO

AIR JAMAICA CHANGES BAGGAGE POLICY

Comments

  1. Caribbean countries need to take two initiatives to regain their previous stature as tourism magnets: 1. Now and in future, there will be a much larger demand for "alternative travel" than "mainstream/conventional" travel. In the past, the Caribbean as a region has ridden on the coattail of the latter very successfully, but these tourism-dependent nations need to be enhancing and seriously marketing their nature-based tourism, unique educational, cultural and historical opportunities and volunteer vacations to guarantee a flow of new and returning visitors, especially older travellers.

    2. Crime is a big problem in too many Caribbean countries and it is sadly growing at an alarming rate on many islands. Governments need to put a lot more energy into making their island havens safe places for travelers to visit. People today know what is going on in countries where they are considering vacations, so this challenge cannot be ignored.

    (Canada)

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