Caribbean Becomes Cruise-Line Battlefield

Richard Branson is set to push aside the cruise-line behemoths, including Disney and Carnival, to build a regional business under the Virgin Voyages brand. Micro-strategy aside, the venture points the way to shifting trends in global tourism, with the Caribbean benefiting from a confluence of marginal developments. Island tourism authorities better understand burgeoning Latin American wealth; technology is sharpening demand-pricing strategies; Cuba is breathing fresh life into regional itineraries. While Virgin Voyages is years from hard launch, the hefty financial outlay is premised on the high-yielding features of a cash-now business. The project also aligns with robust hotel-development trends worldwide. Floating resorts just require a much greater volume of investment capital, than traditional luxury properties.

Learn more at the Miami Herald

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Beyond Caparra

Turn Right for Roseau

To the uninitiated, the Caribbean can be a mind-boggling array of small islands, with a few large ones in the mix.

Man with Cigar

Become a geographer. Florida and the Caribbean have the same economic heft as Brazil. Our regional set includes the perimeter economies of Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, as well as the Guiana Highlands.

Relative Economic Size

Comments on this blog focus on Florida and neighboring trade partners. By output, we rank the major islands:

1. Puerto Rico ($103 billion)

2. Cuba ($78 billion)

3. Dominican Republic ($64 billion)

4. Trinidad and Tobago ($29 billion)

5. Jamaica ($14 billion)

Florida dominates the region with state-wide GDP of about $770 billion. The largest perimeter economy is Colombia at $378 billion, followed by Venezuela.

Note: Ranking is based on GDP data for 2014 at market prices.

Source: World Bank, US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, Cranganore.