An opening of Cuba to U.S. tourism would represent a seismic shift in the Caribbean's tourism industry. This study models the impact of such a potential opening by estimating a counterfactual that captures the current bilateral restriction on tourism between the two countries. After controlling for natural disasters, trade agreements, and other factors, the results show that a hypothetical liberalization of Cuba-U.S. tourism would increase long-term regional arrivals. Neighboring destinations would lose the implicit protection the current restriction affords them, and Cuba would gain market share, but this would be partially offset in the short-run by the redistribution of non-U.S. tourists currently in Cuba. The results also suggest that Caribbean countries have in general not lowered their dependency on U.S. tourists, leaving them vulnerable to this potential change.
Mr. Philippe Egoume Bossogo and Mr. Chandima Mendis
This paper analyzes trade in the Caribbean community (CARICOM) using a gravity model framework. The paper seeks to shed light on the dynamics of trade among CARICOM member countries, as well with the rest of world over 1980–99. Overall, the results show that intra-CARICOM trade has increased, suggesting that further regional integration is desirable. At the same time, CARICOM’s trade with the rest of the world has risen as well, fueled notably by the reduction of the arrangement’s common external tariff and despite the negative impact of the declining preferential access to EU markets for banana. In contrast, WTO membership does not appear to have had a positive impact on trade. Overall, it appears that trade liberalization is consistent with greater CARICOM trade integration.