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Published on : Saturday, January 23, 2016
The importance of the tourism sector to the socio-economic development of the Caribbean was highlighted by the Prime Minister of Bahamas. PM Perry Christie said that tourism as a direct contribution to Caribbean gross domestic product (GDP) was three per cent in 2015 compared to the worldwide average of 3.7 per cent.
He was speaking during the annual Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Market which is underway.
Addressing the three-day event, Christie said the sector as a total contribution to Caribbean GDP rose by 2.9 per cent last year and is expected to increase by 3.3 per cent of GDP per annum each year over the next decade, against the worldwide average of 3.8 per cent.
Highlighting the total capital investment in tourism in the region he cited the 4.2 per cent increase in 2015, as compared to the worldwide average of 4.8 per cent.
However, he stressed the need “to do much better if we are to meet the needs and expectations of Caribbean citizens over the next decade and that we must be intent on giving prioritized focus to those drivers of our economies that will leverage our tourism assets for continued and accelerated growth in the years to come.”
Prime Minister Christie also brought to light the increasingly high cost of taxes and fees on air travel to and within the region. He said air-related taxes and fees for travel to the Caribbean can represent over half of the cost of an airline ticket for a number of destinations.