Crisis In Caribbean Tourism

In recent years, the once vibrant Caribbean tourism industry has been plagued with a number of challenges, including natural disasters and competition from new destinations.

But this year, it was the weakening global economy that has dealt the hardest blow to the industry.Across the region, hundreds of tourism jobs have been lost to the financial crisis.   Luxury resorts, reporting a drop in visitor arrivals, were forced to lay off staff and in some countries, tourism development projects were halted because of a lack of funding.  And there are no immediate signs that things will change. Governor of the Barbados Central Bank, Marion Williams, warned that a prolonged recession could result in a 20 percent drop in tourism revenue.  But the executive vice president of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Sue Springer, said that would be disastrous.

“If we are talking 20 percent we can all pack up and go home, because that would be the end of the tourism industry in Barbados and it will have a catastrophic effect,” Ms Springer said.

Julia Blenman, who manages a small hotel, foresees tough times ahead.

“We’re a small property, competing among a lot of people here in Barbados, larger hotels who may lower their rates just to get people to come in.

“So that’s going to be hard for us,” she told BBC Caribbean.

Air Passenger Duty

In addition to lower visitor arrivals, reduced spending and job losses, the industry was dealt another blow in November.  The British government announced plans to introduce a new tax, the Air Passenger Duty, as part of a drive to reduce carbon emissions.  Under the new law, passengers flying within 2,000 miles of London will have to pay incremental taxes on their ticket fare.

The new tax take effect from November 2009.

St Lucia’s Tourism Minister Allen Chastanet described the tax as a slap in the face for the Caribbean, and he warned that it would spell further problems for the  . Dominican hotelier Judith Pestaina agrees and she says regional governments should lobby against the levy.

“Here it is we have had our bananas, rum, sugar – all these major commodities – affected by WTO rulings, now you have an additional tax being imposed on travel.

“This is something I think our ministers should be lobbying aggressively against, so that we can safeguard our tourism,” she said.




One Response to Crisis In Caribbean Tourism

  1. Pingback: Crisis In Caribbean Tourism « Bajan Global Report | Ace Card's Caribbean Vacation

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