Published on Friday, May 1, 2020

IMF loans offer relief to Caribbean tourism's 'sudden stop'

Up to $2.5 billion is available immediatelyfrom the IMF to help prop up the tourism-dominated economies of the Caribbean.

The emergency loans come as the International Monetary Fund cites a 'sudden stop' in tourism across the region.

With tourism accounting for 50% to 90% of GDP and employment in some Caribbean nations, the region mat see a 6.2% economic decline in 2020 the IMF says.

That would amount to the deepest recession in half a century.

"The global cruise line and air travel industries have ground to a halt with major cruise companies canceling sailings through June and most airlines reducing or suspending service to the Caribbean region," the IMF said on its blog.

"Key tourism source markets in North America and Europe are crippled by the pandemic. This, together with tight border controls and travel restrictions, has led to massive hotel booking cancellations and temporary resort closures."

"Experience from previous crises suggests that the recovery could be delayed. There is also a risk that the 'fear factor' associated with the virus could have a long-lasting impact on tourism in the region," it added.

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