Hurricanes Irma, Maria cost Caribbean tourism more than US$700M

Just under a million less tourists visited the Caribbean following hurricanes Irma and Maria last year, costing the region over $700 million, according to a report from the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council.

“The hurricane season resulted in an estimated (loss) in 2017 of 826,100 visitors to the Caribbean, compared to pre-hurricane forecasts,” said the report.

Those tourists could have spent US$741 million and sustained more than 11,000 jobs, it said.

With their turquoise waters and coral reefs, Caribbean island destinations rely heavily on tourism, which provides 15.2 per cent of the region’s gross domestic product and sustains 14 per cent of its labor force, according to the report.

Worldwide, the average contribution of tourism to GDP is 10.4 per cent.

Read more at: Jamaica Observer