The hidden economic engines that left town
Tourism has historically been the Caribbean region’s economic motor in former colonial rulers left more of the region.
It is the world’s most tourism-dependent country region, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
According to analysts, this business contributes to as much as 40% of the Gross Domestic Product on some islands (GDP). Since COVID-19, travel expenditures have decreased by an astonishing 42% (about $500 billion).
International travel and business travel had the biggest losses, with analysts estimating that international travel spending decreased by 76% and business travel spending decreased by 70%, respectively.
As unemployment rose and the domino effect continued to be witnessed around the world, local businesses that had benefited from tourists were forced to close their doors even further.
It appears that every small business operation has dried up, and only a few of the fittest have a chance to maintain a normal standard of living.
The levy that was previously in place has been relocated.
A few decades ago, some of these countries had robust economies. Sugar, banana, coffee, poultry, and bauxite companies, as well as a variety of other businesses, were critical to the area’s economic existence.
These jobs served as an economic engine, providing a safety net for what would have been the middle-class today, which no longer exists, as well as others from a local mom and pop store strategically tucked on a tight road.
In the wake of globalization and technical improvement, a large number of businesses were sold to foreign investors, and jobs were relocated.
However, as several reports have demonstrated and as has been observed by the worldwide shift, there were some that were self-inflicted, as a few in leadership would concede.
Lower labor costs, greater tax advantages, the facility no longer has enough room to satisfy their requirements, unforeseen business issues, staff safety concerns, and discovering better talents, according to experts, all contributed to the disinvestment. Millennials, for example, are young, creative talents.
Many of the businesses which had survived for a decade at the expense of these communities, products were either no longer competitively priced or had collapsed due to massive imports, poor management, reduced production, and corruption.
These industrial closures have impacted neighborhoods that rely on small enterprises such as retail establishments, restaurants, taverns, and street vendors.
It has expanded the wealth divide and increased unemployment, particularly in the Caribbean’s dominating islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Haiti, Dominica, Jamaica, and the Bahamas, as well as in other parts of Latin America that were already in desperate need of economic stimulus.
Additionally, regardless of which political party is in power, a significant social divide has grown with each subsequent generation, as has poverty and inequality.
Today, it looks like a lot of charitable organizations are asking for money rather than giving the next generation a place to come up with new ideas, which is important for the long-term survival of these shores.
Taking from Peter to Pay Paul: A fine line to walk in terms of their own economic servitude:
COVID-19, according to economists, has caused a threefold economic shock when compared to the 2008 financial crisis.
According to the IOM UN Migration, visiting and spending outside protected tourist zones is comparable to direct remittance, with nations such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Jamaica accounting for almost (USD 10 Billion) annually. However, as a result of the worldwide shock, that number has been lowered as well.
Since the pandemic, commodity prices have risen globally, as have the prices of building materials and even school supplies.
Furthermore, as evidenced by a slew of leading economic data, supply chains exacerbated volatility in import, export, and producer prices.
Nations that were unprepared, on the other hand, continued to suffer the most. Many people blame lockdown for their ongoing financial difficulties, but it is not the only issue.
There have been reports of massive fare increases when taking a local taxi from an airport to a hotel since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many local food banks have been unable to meet needs in a system where unemployment and the service industry have been severely impacted since the pandemic.
I’m not here to report on who should have done more to help where it was needed, but rather on what this reality has resulted in and how it has affected people.
The cost of excursion trips has nearly doubled, according to reports. Some of these businesses were already struggling financially prior to the outbreak.
It’s as if you’re simply covering the expenses of those who are afraid to travel.
A simple COVID-19 test, which few argue is required for travel, usually costs between $20 and $35 USD.
According to recent visitors who visited Jamaica, returning on a flight can cost around US$80.00, though this varies depending on location.
Many travelers have expressed concern that local customs officials appear to be using luggage fines to generate extra revenue while targeting citizens strategically.
A few ex-pats expressed concerns about shipping items ahead of time, citing increased hassle and the extremely high cost of customs clearance.
Several fines appear to have been imposed to make up for lost revenue from other activities as a result of the pandemic.
Furthermore, after inspecting luggage, report any missing items to clear check out.
One traveler reported being fined for leaving items with a sale tag at the airport checkout, which discouraged her and her family from returning anytime soon.
It is not unusual for a group of locals to take a vacation to shop for new clothes.
These visitors who have families on these shores, frequently purchased items with the intention of giving them away or returning them if they were not worn.
Furthermore, even bringing a few extra boxes of protected masks to help aunt Jane was considered a business trip, and the imported ones at some local stores are significantly more expensive than she had paid elsewhere.
Prices can frequently differ from those of a nearby store a few steps away, particularly for basic food supplies, with little enforcement exacerbating the economic difficulties.
Regrettably, it appears to be a missed opportunity for previously lost revenue and will discourage future trips, particularly for budget-conscious many travelers willing to take the risk during this period of uncertainty and anxiety.
The truth or reality behind the masks
According to experts, as the global cost of living rises, the pandemic remains unpredictable, and vaccine skepticism persists, even among those who may have received the first dose, more families will fall further into poverty.
The issue may not be with the number of persons still on the road who are violating established restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of this disease.
COVID-19 survival is comparable to running a clandestine company. As a result, a sizable audience marches in time with the beat of their drums.
Many argued that the risk is worth taking in order to feed their children and pay their bills in the face of insufficient government assistance.
A few residents observed that only well-connected, wealthy politicians can afford self-quarantine, have access to healthcare, and living a normal life.
Numerous impoverished individuals who were previously excluded from the local economy now face the fury of an outsider, particularly those who resist vaccination.
Some people are frustrated because the added division is between those who have access and are almost certainly already vaccinated, and they appear to be pointing fingers at those who violate rules or demonstrate an extreme need for economic assistance, or who brought the virus to the region or spread it locally.
It is difficult to balance the need to open resorts and ports for economic gain with the need to avoid responsibility for the potential risk of the virus, regardless of who is carrying it.
While adhering to the guidelines is critical for visitors and residents alike, I feel that anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has other medical conditions and is aware of potential medical complications would not jeopardize their lives.
Additionally, as previously reported, there is a lack of vital resources, ranging from enough ventilation to adequate bed space, navigating healthcare systems that have outlived their elderly population, and the unpredictable nature of healthcare expenses.
Some local residents are concerned that healthcare systems are already overburdened in order to meet critical demands.
Additionally, while this influx has tested many local hospitals, the pandemic has uncovered inefficiencies in other critical areas that existed before COVID-19.
If families are vaccinated as recommended, these countries will be able to recover considerably sooner, scientists say.
The difficulty in striking the right balance
The pandemic has divided many communities, with local officials debating whether businesses should remain open or temporarily close.
Managing pandemic danger while maintaining economic viability requires a delicate balancing act.
Some people said the confusion was exacerbated by the lack of consistency in local guidelines, which ranged from determining which companies would be closed to enforcing curfews and closing streets.
As I previously stated, tourism is a significant driver of many of these local economies. Managing the influx of visitors, some of whom may be unvaccinated, as well as the economic impact on the local economy if all are barred from landing, according to numerous local reports, is a difficult task.
When it comes to decision-making, the pandemic has put authorities in a bind. Closing the local economy necessitates a delicate balancing act, as others will perish due to the lack of an economic vaccine.
Even though many residents have observed social distance, wear masks, and have been vaccinated, frustration persists.
According to reports, some visitors were restricted, whereas others were free to move around and party, not following safety protocols and were leaving secured areas.
Furthermore, many argue that leaders are using these times of fear, anxiety, and economic uncertainty to gradually push toward despotic political power through restrictions.
Though it may not be a call to limit democracy for public health, freedom comes only from knowledge, and reasonableness is only possible if talk leads to agreement.
Behind the mask are the unseen victims of unvaccinated economics.
Local communities are coughing up an economic virus that has been dormant for decades, on top of a fragile system that had a bad cold for decades.
The pandemic has cast a spotlight on the region’s governance, exposing the region’s vulnerable labor force, mismanagement, and poverty.
Even though the whole region can’t be blamed for today’s inflation, supply chain problems, or COVID-19, it looks like some leaders have been playing economic poker, though.
It’s only that no one predicted the outcome of the hand dealt or how their nation’s economic problem would be resolved. On the other hand, with the same deck of cards, each election cycle delivers a more secure promised hand.
Many politicians and other well-connected individuals in these emerging and poor countries are like casino dealers; they always win. Thus, the pandemic has less of an impact on them because they are salaried employees paid by the public.
COVID-19 funds have been the subject of several reports detailing how they were spent, managed, and overall accountability. When there is a history of reported corruption woven into public service decisions, the reality is that this is what happens.
It’s not uncommon to see some leaders minimize or deflect when they have to justify numbers or compare audits to other countries in order to ease accountability concerns. However, the investigation is left to the country’s own independent accounting system.
As the cost of food, utilities, public transportation, and even government services like vehicle registration and taxes go up, many families are already having a hard time because they can’t afford to pay for these things.
In many poor and developing countries, wages haven’t changed for years, so families have to make some sacrifices to keep up with rising costs.
Today, more individuals are concerned about inflation, growing living costs, job shortages, and food insecurity, all of which have contributed to increased economic fever and financial issues.
Today, not only do privately owned taxi and bus drivers require a booster shot but so does a local shop outside of the tourist protected zone.
The dynamics of youth and how to best serve them:
According to specialists, this is beyond the time when a vaccination will be available for that demographic, or when students will be ready to return to a sense of normalcy in the classroom, which is crucial for their education and mental health.
Due to a shortage of resources, many students are unable to meet crucial academic standards, and some are forced to return to already overcrowded classrooms.
According to some estimations, three out of every four young adults are unemployed.
One of the few areas to find work is in contact centers, where many educated young people queue up to work.
Because of high unemployment and a weak currency, fewer middle-class people and more people living in poverty, crimes like robbery, murder, and assault are on the rise.
Others are saddled with enormous student loan debt and a dearth of professional prospects.
A small off-grid house from a low-paying job is becoming more and more difficult, and COVID-19 seems to have made it even more difficult.
Who is speaking for you at the table?
Nurses, doctors, and scientists have a critical role to play in educating the public about vaccination and vaccine safety. Rather than politicians, they are the ones who are on the front lines.
In addition to informing patients and their caretakers about the advantages and safety of vaccinations, they also provide information on the dangers.
Some people who are reluctant to get vaccinated because of religious views, distrust of their leaders, or ignorance may benefit from talking to a small support group about the vaccine.
According to reports, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) met to discuss a global coordinated partnership on the impact of the Coronavirus on global travel and tourism, but who at the table represents impoverished nations?
We can only hope that this vaccine will not be sold or used as a political platform in future elections regardless of location
If the equity in the vaccine is not obtained as most experts advised to avoid the virus’ spread, the outcome will be terrible. I agree that Heard Immunity may be the only solution to mistrust and bad leadership.
Here comes the sun
The sun will rise again on these lands, and price increases may not be necessary if people follow the science and recommendations.
Many people will continue to travel to reconnect with their history, for cultural reasons, business, vacation, or just a mental break, despite the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Travel reports say that before COVID-19, a lot of people were going to places like the Caribbean, Europe, North America, and parts of Asia.
Additionally, trips to historic sites and cultural events in big cities are becoming increasingly popular as an addition to traditional beach vacations.
There must be a balance that allows everyone to negotiate this recent big change; locals and incoming and departing visitors must work cooperatively to ensure that no one feels excluded or pressured to maintain a sense of normalcy.
After duty, I’ll see you soon, with or without this mask! .. Keep yourself safe!
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