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Collaboration key to creating Caribbean jobs, says WTTC

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed the Caribbean’s travel and tourism sector could 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.

At its Sustainable and Investment Summit in Puerto Rico, WTTC is launching a new publication looking at the future growth of the region. The report addresses a number of key challenges that the islands face and sets clear recommendations to maximise the growth potential of the Caribbean.

The Caribbean is hugely reliant on travel and tourism and international visitors. In 2019, the sector’s contribution to the region’s GDP was 13.9 % (US$ 61.5 billion), falling to just 7.1% (US$28.8 billion) in 2020, which represented a staggering 53.2% loss.

The sector also supported more than 2.7 million jobs across the region, before experiencing a staggering 25.8%, falling to 2.1 million in 2020, suffering a higher drop than the global average.


According to the latest report, published today in Puerto Rico, the sector’s contribution to GDP could grow at an average rate of 6.7% annually over the next decade, outstripping the region’s overall economy growth.

The Caribbean travel and tourism’s contribution to the region’s GDP could reach more than US$100 billion by 2032.

In order to achieve this, the global tourism body says stronger collaboration across the Caribbean region, investment in infrastructure, better 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 organisations such as the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) and other local associations, will also be key to achieving this long-term growth.

The report also indicates how sustainability and protecting nature are also key elements which will enhance resilience for the future and will accelerate its recovery.

WTTC’s ‘Travel and tourism in the Caribbean: Prospects for Growth’ analyses the travel and tourism sector’s impact on the region, as well as post-pandemic recovery and key challenges and recommendations to ensure a sustainable future for the region.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & 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 T&T in the Caribbean could grow 6.7% annually and be worth 100 billion dollars by 2032. This would create 1.3 million new jobs totalling 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 EIR report also reveals 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%, to reach more than US$39 billion (9.1% of the total economy).

World Travel Awards will be hosting its Caribbean & The America’s Gala Ceremony 2022 at Sandals Montego Bay, Jamaica on 31 August 2022, with the Caribbean’s leading travel industry figures in attendance.

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, is a leading advocate in creating programmes and initiatives that can build the resilience of local small and medium-sized tourism enterprises to earn more.

The nation’s ministry and its public bodies are offering support to the SMTEs and hospitality workers using three pillars: international certification through the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation; financial support through businesses such as the Jamaica National Bank and the EXIM Bank; and marketing through the Jamaica Tourist Board.