Years after the start of the pandemic, the IMF is suggesting tourism could be the answer to slumping formal employment levels
ROSEAU, DOMINICA — Amid record-low levels of formal employment, returning tourism to its prior glory could be a way to create more jobs in Dominica.
This is according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which made the suggestion in its recent-released Dominica country report for July 2023.
In that report, the IMF emphasized that tourism “is an important driver of economic activity in Dominica.”
It noted: “Tourism is also an important source of jobs, accounting for about 10.5 percent of total employment when measured directly, mainly through hospitality sectors (e.g., hotel and restaurants).”
However, as was the case in most tourism-reliant countries, “the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Dominica’s tourism sector.”
One of the most crucial lessons to emerge from the pandemic was the disadvantage of relying too heavily on tourism.
This painful lesson spurred renewed efforts to diversify the economy away from tourism throughout most Caribbean nations.
Countries like Jamaica, Barbados and others all focused efforts on exploring alternative, more sustainable sources of income and livelihoods for their respective citizens.
This makes the IMF’s suggestion to renew a focus on tourism somewhat unexpected.
However, it is suggesting that this could be a way to restore formal employment at the very least.
Informal jobs in Dominica on the rise
The recommendation comes after the IMF found that formal jobs have woefully lagged behind economic recovery in the country.
Job informality has posed a serious problem throughout the Caribbean in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Informal jobs leave workers far more vulnerable to external shocks as well as poverty.
While the IMF emphasized a need for a more sustainable tourism model in the Caribbean going forward, it nonetheless highlighted the potential for formal jobs now that global travel has recovered from the worst of the pandemic’s effects.
The IMF said: “Tourism plays a vital role in Dominica’s economy. It contributes significantly to growth, employment, and exports…
“Initiatives to expand airlift capacity, including by strengthening intra-regional collaboration and investing in digital and (resilient) physical infrastructure are critical to promote growth and sustainability in the tourism sector.
“Furthermore, countries can enhance competitiveness and reduce vulnerabilities by investing in the expansion of skilled labour supply for the sector and diversifying
According to the IMF’s data, around 25 percent of formal jobs in Dominica could be recovered with successful efforts to restore its tourism product and make it more sustainable going forward.