The annual EIR from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global travel and tourism private sector, shows the sector’s contribution to GDP dropped a staggering 58 percent, higher than the global average.
Travel and tourism’s impact on the region’s GDP fell from USD58,4 billion (14.1%) in 2019, to USD24, 5 billion (6,4 percent), just 12 months later, in 2020.
The year of damaging travel restrictions which brought much of international travel to a grinding halt, resulted in the loss of 680,000 travel and tourism jobs across the popular holiday region, equating to almost a quarter of all jobs in the sector.
These job losses were felt across the entire travel and tourism ecosystem, with SMEs, which make up eight out of 10 of all global businesses in the sector, particularly affected.
Furthermore, as one of the world’s most diverse sectors, the impact on women, youth and minorities was significant.
The number of those employed in the Caribbean travel and tourism sector fell from nearly 2,76 million in 2019, to 2,08 million in 2020, a drop of almost a quarter (24,7 percent).
The report also revealed domestic visitor spending declined by 49,6 percent, with international spend faring even worse, falling by 68 percent, due to the region’s strong reliance on international travel, with many of the islands massively impacted.