17 Nov 2020 - Although the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) territories are small in terms of land mass, they are surrounded by a 500,000 km2 seascape – roughly 80 times larger than their land areas. The marine space is a lifeline for OECS countries, which have embraced the Blue Economy - - in other words, using this massive ocean area for sustainable economic growth and resilience.
Thanks to picturesque beaches, incredible marine biodiversity, and warm, welcoming people, the Caribbean tourism industry boomed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, dominating the region’s economy. Tourism, which is a major employer in the Caribbean, contributed 15.2% (or $57 billion annually) to the region’s prosperity.
Unfortunately, the necessary lockdown measures to curb the pandemic have severely impacted the sector. Tourism is projected to decline 58%-78% globally in 2020 according to the UN World Trade Organization, jeopardizing job prospects in the Caribbean, where 54% of workers in the hotel and hospitality industry are women.