Economic Sun Not Quite As Bright As Carribean Sun

Tourists are being advised to continue on their Caribbean holidays as a destructive but thankfully relatively un-deadly hurricane season draws to a close.

Hurricane Tomas was responsible for the deaths of 14 people in St. Lucia at the beginning of the month. With houses flattened and infrastructure damaged, the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) quickly paid out $13 million to Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. Though even St. Lucia has been quick to recover from the Hurricane, the destruction has rocked people’s faith in the sustainability of the Caribbean economies. Others are taking heart in the fact that all twelve of the hurricanes failed to make landfall in the US, keeping a valuable source market in good health.

With the wider Caribbean economy so heavily dependent on tourism, the bad weather has been less than fantastic news. Whilst some islands like Trinidad and Tobago have remained resilient due to oil and gas resources, the reliance on timber and agriculture aside from tourism puts a lot of investment in resources that can be easily destroyed by hurricanes (as happened in St. Lucia). Critics have been quick to point to this lack of diversity in produce as a decisive issue, but they also believe that tourism should be targetting outside the comfort zones of Europe and North America.

The problem with tourism isn’t that the sun has stopped shining of course. A holiday to Barbados, St. Lucia, the Dominican Republic or any other of these fabulous islands is as wonderful as it has ever been. However, there’s a futher problem: the Caribbean no longer has sole control over the image of the tropical paradise. Mauritius holidays are a fantastic Indian Ocean destination, and responsible for much of the European Source Market’s fickle attitude to Caribbean destinations in the last decade. Tourists are also keen to discover new tropical destinations, such as Thailand holidays for a continental tropical climate.

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