International Arrivals to Caribbean Drop 67% for 2020: Devastating for Workers
February 18, 2021 Admin
Caribbean destinations experienced a 67% fall in international tourist arrivals in 2020 compared to the previous year. Given the reliance of many destinations on the sector, this has placed large numbers of livelihoods and businesses at risk and makes the timely restart of tourism vital.
The World Tourism Organization, jointly with the Caribbean Tourism Organization, says it has united their Members in the Caribbean to address the key challenges they face in making effective use of statistics to drive the restart of their tourism sectors.
Over the course of two days, a regional virtual workshop analyzed the importance of tourism data for supporting the sector in the present and helping tourism to restart in the Caribbean in a timely and sustainable manner.
The workshop brought together around 130 participants from 23 States, including the leaders of National Tourism Administrations, National Statistical Offices, Central Banks and Migration authorities. The high-level status of participants ensures that they will in turn spread UNWTO’s technical expertise within their own countries, empowering more tourism professionals with knowledge of how best to analyse and use data to guide decisions.
Through the sessions, the Caribbean tourism community got a better understanding of the fundamentals of tourism statistics. They were also given an overview of UNWTO’s Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) data, as well as guidance on how this can be used to guide decision-making.
Welcoming UNWTO’s technical assistance, Neil Walters, Acting Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization said: “We recognize the importance of data and statistics in the development of COVID-19 recovery programs and comprehensive sustainable tourism strategies. We thank the UNWTO for supporting our efforts at capacity building in tourism statistics analysis and reporting in the Caribbean.”
The workshop also emphasized the relevance of tourism statistics, both for informing the sector’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic but also, looking ahead, for its role in guiding sustainable development across the Caribbean region.
The Caribbean is said to be the most tourism-dependent region on the planet. Canada is a key market, especially in winter, but the Canadian government and Canada’s major airlines agreed last month to suspend all commercial flights between the two countries until April 30 as a way to help fight COVID-19.
It’s arguably a good move for Canada, but it’s had a devastating effect on tourism workers who rely on visiting Canadians to feed their families.