Tourism is to the Caribbean as Oil is to the Middle East

Tourism in the Caribbean has been happening since before Haiti became a republic in 1804. In the beginning, the very rich traveled to the Caribbean to experience the benefits of its health resorts, some of which offered hot springs. Tourists chose which of the islands they favored according to the official language spoken: The English preferred Jamaica; the French, French Martinque; and the Dutch, Curaçao.


As the Caribbean grew to be a tourist destination in the 60s, international airlines began offering non-stop flights. This changed the character of the tourist profile, which had been only the wealthy, but now became middle-class as well. Once the hospitality and tourism industries saw the potential for big profits in the Caribbean, they began investing in the region.

Even though private investors have spent capital to erect luxury hotels, and tourism has continued a steady climb with no end in sight, the Caribbean's economy has seen little of healthy profits foreign companies have been enjoying.

Caribbean governments do not have enough money in their budgets to build infrastructure necessary to support tourism. They've had to secure loans from foreign countries to build international airports, road projects, sanitation systems, power grids, and telecommunication systems. The upkeep has caused local taxes to rise steeply. At times, the International Money Fund has had to step in to keep governments from going broke.

Additionally, whatever profits accrue from tourism, a major portion goes to foreign companies, who run the hospitality and tourism industries. This leaves inadequate amounts for governments to function with.

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Read more: economy, tourism, jamaica, Infrastructure, Martinique, Caribbean, Tourism Tips, Curacao, Travel and Tourism

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