Caribbean countries stand to lose US$3 billion in tourism revenue over the four years it will take them to fully recover from the 2017 hurricane season, the World Travel & Tourism Council reported earlier this month, in a new report on storm resilience and recovery.
“The 2017 hurricane season resulted in an estimated loss of 826,100 visitors to the Caribbean, compared to pre-hurricane forecasts,” the WTTC stated in a release. “These visitors would have generated $741 million and supported 11,005 jobs.”
In 2016, 46.7 million international visitors to the region spent $31.4 billion and supported 2.4 million jobs. The analysis by Tourism Economics, a unit of Oxford Economics, found that tourism accounts for 15.2% of GDP and 13.8% of employment across the region—and more than 25% of GDP in about half of the countries in the study.
“Natural disasters will continue to hit the Caribbean, perhaps on an increasingly frequent basis as a result of climate change,” the Council’s release (under)states. “As the economies of islands grow ever more reliant on the sector, it is critical that governments and destination management organizations develop strategies to minimize the long-term impact of natural disasters and encourage visitor spending to return to pre-hurricane levels of growth.”
The release adds that recovery times after a climate disaster “can be significantly reduced when governments work alongside the private sector to implement policy initiatives that are supportive for travel and tourism growth and long-term resilience.”