Travel and Tourism - Trinidad and Tobago - May 2012
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Trinidad and Tobago is a small player in the Caribbean tourism industry. The economy is dominated by the energy sector (oil and natural gas) and the country attracts fewer than half a million international visitors annually. Well over half of these, however, head for Tobago, with its beaches and coral reefs. In 2011, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the tourism economy (direct and indirect) generated 7.4% of Trinidad and Tobago’s gross domestic product (GDP) but that is the overall percentage for the entire country. In Tobago alone, the tourism industry generated close to 40% of GDP.
The largest source market for inbound travel to Trinidad and Tobago is North America, accounting for around half of all international arrivals. The UK, with its historic and cultural ties to its one-time colony, is the second-largest source market (some 35,500 arrivals in 2010).
In 2009 and 2010, arrivals from both these source markets fell to below 2008 levels. There were several reasons – the ongoing effects of the economic recession of 2007-09, British Airways’ discontinuation of special ‘family rates’, which cut into VFR travel (visiting friends and relatives) and, in the case of the UK, an increase in air passenger duty (APD). In 2009, the UK government hiked up the APD (to £50 per person to the Caribbean) and increased it again in 2010. The 2012 UK spring budget saw yet another increase – to £75
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