The Caribbean Conundrum: United by Tourists, Divided by Covid

Before the pandemic, the Caribbean was the world’s most tourism-reliant region, according to recent calculations by the World Travel Tourism Council. Made up of dozens of sovereign nations, territories and dependencies that often reacted disparately to the virus, the region was struck unequally by the coronavirus, the New York Times reported. Some islands were walloped by staggering caseloads, while infections on others sometimes dwindled to single digits. With 48 percent of its population fully vaccinated, and 62 percent at least partially vaccinated, Turks and Caicos is one of the most inoculated places in the world. Haiti hasn’t received a single dose. And like the B.V.I., the fates of many Caribbean islands are tied to their colonial history. With limited sovereignty, truncated voting rights and an economy largely serving international visitors, they are often subject to the decisions of nations far away. Health care infrastructures across the region are limited, and many islands have endured flip-flopping border closures and stringent curfews. The result: Tourism has drastically declined, sinking the region’s gross domestic product 58 percent last year. According to a recent survey by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, a quarter of the more than 250 Caribbean tourism companies surveyed said they do not expect a full recovery until at least mid-2023. More than half of those businesses surveyed said they were unsure they could stay afloat. Read more.