This paper was prepared for the Handbook of Caribbean Economies Issues (Routledge 2020). You can also access this publication on The Social Sciences Research Network.
The growth of the tourist industry in the Caribbean is a rich and varied success story. For the most part it has been a story of private enterprise, with the providers of tourism services pricing their services in line with the quality of service on offer, and, for a majority of countries, adjusting prices in a successful strategy of protecting or increasing their market share. The best performing countries recorded high average daily expenditures per visitor, full capacity, a growing inventory of accommodation, and strong growth in arrivals. Among the other countries there is every combination of high/low average daily expenditure, good and bad value propositions, diversification of source markets, full to low capacity utilization, and large, modest, or little or no increase in accommodation. The results ranged from modest to exceptional growth in visitor arrivals, sustaining the Caribbean’s share of world tourism above two per cent of the global total.