Sun, sand, shots: Caribbean seeks vaccines to revive economy
The Caribbean is hunting for visitors and vaccines to jump-start the stalled economy in one of the worlds most tourism-dependent regions (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)SAN JUAN – The Caribbean is hunting for visitors and vaccines to jump-start the stalled economy in one of the world’s most tourism-dependent regions. Clear waters and warm sand attracted a record 31.5 million tourists to the Caribbean in 2019, but visits plummeted by an estimated 60% to 80% as the pandemic hit last year. “Many countries prefer hurricanes compared to what has happened with the pandemic,” said Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, a former Bahamian tourism minister who also led the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Cuba — the largest Caribbean nation and the only one working on its own vaccines — choked off arrivals after seeing infections surge. Neil Walters, acting secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization.