The 2016 race to the White House may be good for United States democracy, but not so for Caribbean tourism, warns one senior regional economist.
Based on research conducted by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), its Director of Economics Dr Justin Ram pointed out during a CDB news conference here yesterday that tourist arrivals from the US tend to decline during the year of the US Presidential election.
Ram also cautioned that this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro could also divert tourists away from the Caribbean.
With Barbados currently experiencing a bumper winter tourist season, having recorded a 14.7 per cent increase in tourist arrivals last year, the CDB official further warned the island, as well as its regional neighbours, to take the threat of Zika seriously.
Ram pointed out that the virus was different from the other mosquito borne diseases because of the associated threat to pregnant women and the link to microcephaly in babies.
“Of course for anyone travelling to a destination where you think that you could actually get the Zika virus you would not travel, particularly, if women are thinking of becoming pregnant or if you are pregnant already,” he said.
“Just thinking about it at the surface, for aircraft [and] vessels coming from outside of the region to the region, we need to ensure that these aircraft cabins are sprayed.
“[However] I can tell you that coming back to the region recently from outside from other countries, that is not happening. If we have such a threat we need to be actually acting very quickly to ensure that threat doesn’t reach us here,” urged Ram.