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Antigua and Barbuda


hurricane damage, gross national product, offshore banking, GNP, hotel construction

The economy of Antigua and Barbuda is dependent on tourism and offshore banking. The country’s gross national product (GNP) is about U.S.$759 million (2004 World Bank estimate), giving a per capita income of U.S.$11,050. Hotels and restaurants contribute about one-fourth of the gross domestic product (GDP), and the industry employs around one-third of the labor force. In 2006 there were 273,000 tourists (including cruise-ship visitors). The tourism receipts are some U.S.$327 million a year, compared with merchandise exports of U.S.$22.5 million. There has been considerable investment in infrastructure to support the tourist industry, including the expansion of airport and harbor facilities, road improvements, and hotel construction.

The country’s economy is at the mercy of the weather, however. Hurricanes can be devastating, driving tourists away and causing hotels to remain closed for repairs for months. In the past the decline in tax income and budget revenues and increase in public spending on repairs due to hurricane damage has forced the government to introduce austerity programs.

The monetary unit of Antigua and Barbuda is the East Caribbean (EC) dollar of 100 cents (2.70 East Caribbean dollars equal U.S.$1, a fixed rate since 1976).

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