News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Nov. 24, 2021: The Caribbean is well known for its beautiful beaches, warm weather and mix of cultures and nationalities that give it a unique and eclectic flavour; the tourism industry of this region has always been a global powerhouse, that is, at least, until COVID-19 struck. In the fallout of this global pandemic, and as a consequence of forced lockdowns around the world, tourism in areas like the Caribbean collapsed.
However, where many other countries with such a unique reliance on this single industry would have collapsed under the pressure of not being able to accommodate travelers, the Caribbean was able to survive, and in fact thrive, as a result of a resurgent growth in the ecommerce industry that was ignited by COVID. The Caribbean now represents an incredible investment opportunity, especially to those based in the US, that must be capitalised upon.
Despite the rise of other industries in the run up to COVID-19, tourism still remained the primary source of income in the Caribbean. The most tourist-dependent islands of the Caribbean during 2019 are as follows: in Aruba, the industry accounted for nearly a third of its total GDP (28%), with nearly 2 million visitors; the US Virgin Islands and Antigua and Barbuda followed closely with 24% respectively; then Saint Lucia with a solid 21%; and Grenada and the Bahamas with 20% each as well.
The impact of COVID-19 on tourism in these areas was devastating; for most, the drop in tourists in 2020 – classified in terms of overnight stays alone – was eye-watering. The Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s latest statistics revealed that Antigua and Barbuda, for instance, experienced a decrease of nearly two-thirds between January and November of the same year.
As a consequence of hurricane season and already high levels of national debt, which have only compounded the pandemic’s devastation on the tourism industry, the sector is forecast not to rebound back to pre-Covid levels for quite some time, even with many of these countries reopening their borders.
Such a blow to many other countries so dependent on an industry could have proven fatal, but thanks to the foundational growth the Caribbean had been steadily experiencing in ecommerce for a while now, it was able to survive. Furthermore, the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies found that the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector of the Caribbean grew at a rate of just under 20% between 2010-2015.
In the wake of the pandemic, the BPO industry has risen to become the driving force of economic growth in the islands, particularly Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, where a cumulative 53,000 are employed in the sector. This growth has been increased exponentially in the time after COVID as a result of an inflow of investment from international BPO companies hoping to make use of a young, economic workforce with the ability to speak four separate languages (English, Spanish, French & Dutch) in addition to their native language.
The BPO sector, in combination with the region’s banking sector and competitive tax rates, offers Caribbean countries a chance to diversify away from their reliance on the tourism industry, in addition to providing both economic growth and youth employment.
Moreover, it makes sense for Americans who do business around the world to use the Caribbean as their preferred base. Its cultural and geographical similarity to both the North and South American markets as well as its multilingual ability have only increased foreign investment from a growing number of BPO investors seeking to establish local centres for their services.
On balance, the Caribbean represents a budding opportunity for investors seeking to capitalise on a growing ecommerce industry, specifically in the BPO and banking sectors. This sector had been growing for a number of years in the run up to the events of 2020, but experienced a rapid explosion in the fallout of COVID as a result of the decline the tourism industry experienced.
Those interested in investing in the ecommerce industry need to be aware of the best Ecommerce tools available to them. Ecommerce management software is used by top companies in the industry to leverage a variety of services, ranging from convenient global payments, subscription management and billing, as well as inventory syncing, multi-warehouse routing and ecommerce goal products. They are a must-have for anyone thinking about investing in the budding ecommerce hub that is the Caribbean.
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