The remarkable surge in Chinese economic productivity, especially since the turn of the century, has been of material benefit to every economy in the world trading system, and the Caribbean has shared in those benefits. The most substantial benefit to the Caribbean from the relationship with China has been via the purchase of more affordable products made in China or made with Chinese inputs. The Caribbean has secured additional imports that may be of the order of five to ten per cent, compared with what the same money would have bought from alternative sources.
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.
In the years since World War II Barbados was transformed from a desperately poor society, with only a tiny middle class, to today's economy of mostly middle-income earners, which is ranked by the UNDP among the highest level of human development globally. In this chapter we discover that the transformation took place, for the most part, in the 1950s and 1960s. Thereafter, economic development gains were modest, and the economy has performed well below its economic potential. The chapter tells the story of the changeover from sugar to tourism as the mainstay of the economy, and the factors that affected investment and growth. The phases of growth, the pressures on the balance of payments and the economic crises that have occurred are analysed, and the impact of Government policies on growth and economic stability is explored in depth. The chapter concludes with thoughts on the way forward for Barbados and the Caribbean.