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Hurricane hit Caribbean lost almost $700million in tourism revenue after islands were lashed by deadly storms

  • Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated several island in the Caribbean last year
  • This meant islands saw one million fewer visitors come to the region afterwards
  • Tourism provides 15.2 per cent of the region's gross domestic product each year 

The Caribbean lost over $700million in tourism revenue after several islands were lashed by hurricanes last year, a new report has revealed.

In September, parts of the region were devastated by the hurricanes Irma and Maria, which were the fiercest ever recorded.

And now it has been revealed that in the aftermath, the area attracted almost one million fewer visitors costing the island economies millions of dollars. 

The Caribbean lost over $700million in tourism revenue after several islands were lashed by hurricanes last year, a new report has revealed. Pictured is a bay in St Barts 

The Caribbean lost over $700million in tourism revenue after several islands were lashed by hurricanes last year, a new report has revealed. Pictured is a bay in St Barts 

The report, by the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council, said: 'The hurricane season resulted in an estimated (loss) in 2017 of 826,100 visitors to the Caribbean, compared to pre-hurricane forecasts.'

'Those tourists could have spent $741million and sustained more than 11,000 jobs.

With their turquoise waters and coral reefs, Caribbean island destinations rely heavily on tourism.

It provides 15.2 per cent of the region's gross domestic product and sustains 14 per cent of its labour force, according to the report.

The devastation on Orient Bat on the French Caribbean island of Saint Martin after it was struck by Hurricane Irma 

The devastation on Orient Bat on the French Caribbean island of Saint Martin after it was struck by Hurricane Irma 

Irma and Maria left a trail of destruction in Barbuda, St Martin/Sint Maarten, pictured,  St Barts, Anguilla, Cuba and Dominica

Irma and Maria left a trail of destruction in Barbuda, St Martin/Sint Maarten, pictured,  St Barts, Anguilla, Cuba and Dominica

Worldwide, the average contribution of tourism to GDP is 10.4 per cent.

Irma and Maria left a trail of destruction in Barbuda, St Martin/Sint Maarten, St Barts, Anguilla, Cuba, Dominica and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Barbuda, Dominica and Puerto Rico were among the worst hit and are still recovering.

But the loss of tourism in the Caribbean also affected islands that were not hit directly by the hurricanes.

Buildings are flattened in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean 

Buildings are flattened in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean 

That is because there is 'a misconception on the part of the public that the entire Caribbean was hit by storms,' the report added.

But, 'more than two thirds of the destinations in the Caribbean were not physically affected.'

The recovery of the tourism sector to pre-hurricane levels could take four years, the group warned.

The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and stretches through November 30. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR celebrityrave

Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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