The texture of the Caribbean economy is deeply influenced by the tourism industry. That business suffers from palm-tree stereotypes. The casual visitor can be forgiven for being unable to distinguish between Antigua and Anguilla or St. Martin and Martinique. Others have few excuses. There are material differences in culture, not to mention business standards. One way to start that journey is with a high-quality travel guide.
Caribbean: The Lesser Antilles (Affiliate Link)
We are reticent to feature a travel guide on a blog centered on economic analysis, but accessible, pan-regional material on the tourism industry is hard to find. Most of the prevailing work is written by industry insiders for industry insiders, not for businessmen looking to design a region-wide commercial or investment strategy. While this particular volume of course has great pictures and useful maps, we are most struck by the scope of the top-line narrative. The text is a foundational read for those who are new to the Lesser Antilles. Road warriors may find the local business listings to be helpful, in part because the major hotels and resorts dominate visitors’ on-the-ground attention. And cloistering poolside during off hours is a substandard way to mark the rhythm of island culture. You should keep this book at hand for ready reference. For those tied to the tourism industry, this list of local festivals may be useful. These is also a concise bibliography with a choice array of fiction entries.
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Banner image shows Nelson’s Dockyard heritage site on Antigua. Credit: Alfotokunst at Can Stock Photo Inc.