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Caribbean news in brief:Tourism rise, Barbuda, Amazon + more

PICTURED: Antigua and Barbuda prime minister Gaston Browne (Photo credit: Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program)

TOURISM ON THE UP DESPITE HURRICANE

Despite last year’s hurricane season, 2017 last year saw a record 30 million stay-over visitors in the Caribbean. Figures from the research team at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation indicate that visitors contributed a record
US$37 billion to island economies with some places seeing double-digit arrival increases but a 20 per cent drop in visitors for those hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

BARBUDA REBUILD BIGGER AND BETTER

Antigua and Barbuda prime minister Gaston Browne has said he hopes that half of Barbuda’s population will be able to move back by mid- year following last year’s hurricanes, all being well.

He told Vox magazine in February that 300 people had already returned. He said: “We’re not unaccustomed to hardships, and I’m pretty sure we’ll rebuild Barbuda bigger and better.”

JAMAICAN RIVAL TO AMAZON BUSINESS

Jamaican IT magnate Douglas Halsall has announced plans to develop a Caribbean Amazon-type business. He told the Jamaican Observer that it will focus on Jamaican and Caribbean products. When told that only about 14 per cent of Jamaicans use credit cards, he said that this would not hinder him in making Jamaica the “poster child” for digital expansion.

STEELPAN BODY CUTS TICKET PRICES

Despite a cut in government funding this carnival, Trinidad and Tobago’s steelpan governing body, Pan Trinbago, announced reduced tickets prices. The body said that it had looked at “the overall picture of the economy and its downturn” and examined its budget.

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