Jamaica ranked 13th most tourism-dependent economy in the worldTuesday, May 18, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaica has been dubbed one of the “big three” Caribbean tourism economies, ranking the 13th most tourism-dependent economy in the world, as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) highlighted the importance of boosting innovation and supporting transformations that align tourism offerings with post-pandemic global demands.
The island scored 38.7 out of a possible 100 on the latest IDB's Tourism Dependency Index, which was calculated for 166 countries.
Of the world's fifteen most tourism dependent economies, eight are in the Caribbean, led by Aruba — ranked first in the world, with a score of 80. Rounding out the “big three” are The Bahamas and Barbados, ranking sixth and 11th, respectively.
According to the latest IDB Caribbean quarterly bulletin, 2020 represented a contraction of international visitor arrivals of 76 per cent for The Bahamas, 69 per cent for Jamaica and 67 per cent for Barbados.
This is in line with the estimate by the UN World Tourism Organization of a 67 per cent contraction for the broader Caribbean region.
The IDB noted that returning to 2019 annual levels of tourism arrivals and expenditures will be gradual, predicting a two to four year recovery period.
“Data are limited, but tourism remained subdued in the first quarter of 2021 in most destinations, and far below the levels of the first quarter of 2020 — the last 'near normal' quarter,” it said.
It further stated that: “The evolution of demand for tourism services in key source markets obviously is critical to the prospects for a recovery of tourism in the Caribbean. With respect to source markets, for most countries in the region, the United States represents the most important source of tourism demand.”
The US is followed by the United Kingdom and Canada for the “big three” destinations.
The United States accounts for about 82 per cent of all visitors to The Bahamas, 69 per cent to Jamaica, and 32 per cent to Barbados.
The United Kingdom is the most important source of tourism demand for Barbados, representing about 33 per cent of all visitors, and is also an important source of visitors to Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, where it represents about eight per cent of all arrivals, based on the latest available data.
Visitors from Canada represent about 15 per cent of arrivals to Jamaica, and around 12 per cent to both Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
“Over the longer term, Caribbean countries must spur innovation and reinvigorate their tourism offerings,” said Olga Gómez, Tourism Lead Specialist at the IDB.
“It is no longer enough to depend on the lure of splendid beaches. Tourism destinations need to invest in improving their competitiveness, aligning their tourism products to the broader local and global economic trends, and exploring new and traditional emerging market segments such as global nomadism or nature-based tourism.”
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