Effect of Covid-19 on Caribbean countries that are overdependent on the travel and tourism industry

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the shutdown of economies, the global travel & tourism industry has been battered and no country has been spared from the gruesome hands of the virus.

In 2019, global travel & tourism contributed 10.4% (US$9.2 Trillion) to the total global GDP, 10.6% of all jobs (334 million), and international visitor spending amounted to US$1.7 Trillion. Last year (2020), the total global GDP reduced by approximately 49% (US$4.5 Trillion) compared to the previous year due to the widespread of Covid-19 which resulted in lockdowns of country borders.

Image Source: Pixabay (Covid-19)

Despite all these, some countries fared better than others. To some people, the 10 most visited countries in the world by international arrivals in 2019 — France, Spain, US., China, Italy, Turkey, Mexico, Thailand, Germany, UK — could be considered the biggest casualties of the pandemic in terms of income. Others might include Australia and Japan on their list due to being ranked amongst the top 10 countries in terms of international tourism receipts in 2019. As for me, whilst not discarding the opinions of others, I just couldn’t resist the idea of including a few ideas of mine.

Image Source: Pixabay (Eiffel Tower)

In 2019, the travel and tourism industry of each of the most visited countries accounted for less than 16% of the GDP of their countries with the exception of Thailand. It’s even interesting to know that that the reliant of the GDP of some of these countries on the travel and tourism industry was even less than 10% and they include; France — 8.5%, United Kingdom (9.0%), U.S. (8.6%), and Germany (9.1%).

We have countries with a far lesser number of tourists visits and one might be tempted to assume that the growth of their economy relies on other sectors. However, the existence of such countries is dependent on the travel and tourism industry due to the number of jobs it creates.

The Caribbean is a beautiful place with a vibrant culture and it’s not surprising that tourists include countries in that region on their travel bucket list. In a place where most of the population work in travel and tourism, the impact of travel restrictions is more likely to be heart-rending. Most people travel to the Caribbean for leisure purpose, while the residents of the Caribbean Island are able to feed their families from the income made as a result of the visit.

Image Source: Pixabay (Aruba)

In some Caribbean countries — Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, Bahamas, Anguilla, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Grenada — the travel and tourism industry makes up more than 30% of the total jobs. Antigua and Barbuda seem to be the most dependent with a figure as high as more than 40% of total jobs in the country.

Also, with the job creation analysis, you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that there’s a correlation between GDP and travel and tourism in the Caribbean countries. In some countries in the region, the total contribution of tourism to their GDP could be over 40%. This means, apart from hospitalization and death due to Covid-19, border closure/travel restriction is enough to do more damage to their economy.

According to reports, as of 2days ago, 28%, 36% and 56% of the UK, US, and Israeli population respectively have been fully vaccinated. Other countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal have also achieved more than 10%. Therefore, I can’t say the future looks bleak for the Caribbean countries because vaccination seems to be the key to the gradual opening of borders and economic recovery, and the vaccination rate can only go higher. The only problem I foresee is if the Covid-19 variants aren’t affected by the vaccine.

Image Source: Pixabay (Covid-19 Vaccine)

With this information, I guess it should be clear by now why some countries wouldn’t be so happy about restrictions despite the fact that it’s only the living that plans to go on vacation, the dead can’t travel and that’s exactly what Covid-19 has done to our world. The world bank report states that Gross National Income (GNI) per capita in the Caribbean varies from US$800 to more than US$30,000. I can only imagine what the people of that region are currently facing due to the massive job loss due to the pandemic which could lead to a rise in the poverty rate.

As usual, the Dartemuv team just want to say thank you for reading this article and we hope to bring you more…

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