“It is the time of year when the island nations of the Caribbean normally expect their hotels and beaches to be packed with sun-seekers. But this year, cash-strapped North Americans and Europeans are staying at home. Visitor numbers will fall by up to a third, reckons Harold Lovell, who chairs the Caribbean Tourism Organisation. The hotel association in Tobago says that only one bed in three is occupied. Atlantis, a mega-resort in the Bahamas, laid off 800 staff in November, while flights to Nassau, the capital, have been cut by a quarter. The picture is similar in the Dominican Republic, while a strong increase in tourist arrivals in Cuba tailed off in the last three months of last year.
“The scarcity of tourists has halted some ambitious expansion plans, and is a blow to fragile economies. The Bahamas had approved investments worth over $20 billion over the next five years. Mayaguana, a sparsely populated island of crystal seas and white sand, was set for a $1.8 billion resort with the world’s longest airport runway. Now its torpor may remain undisturbed. Baha Mar, a $2.6 billion project in Nassau that would have employed 4,400 building workers, has been stopped by the withdrawal of its American casino partner. Other large developments are on hold in Jamaica, St Lucia and Anguilla.”
Read the rest of the article at the Economist.
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