Antigua and Barbuda - Economic development

Antigua is an excellent location for international business. The country offers a pleasant tropical atmosphere and adequate infrastructure in which to conduct business.

Although only 280 sq km (108 sq mi), Antigua has the largest tourist sector in the Leeward and Windward Islands. Frequent cruise ship arrivals at the St. John's Harbour and the Deep Water Harbour also play a major part in boosting tourism. The opening of the Heritage Quay duty-free shopping complex provided tourists with the opportunity to shop at duty-free prices.

There has been a substantial decrease in agriculture's contribution to the country's gross domestic product (GDP), falling from 40% to 4% since the 1960s. However, the Ministry of Agriculture has been implementing policies to encourage farmers to increase output in an effort to decrease imports of agricultural products. The trade imbalance severely endangers the Antiguan and Barbadian economy in the event of decreased tourism revenues.

New hotel construction in 1999 competed with the installment of a completely new telephone system in 2000 for importance to economic development. A series of hurricanes since 1995 damaged the tourist infrastructure and resulted in fewer numbers of visitors. Thus, Antigua and Barbuda is working toward diversifying the economy away from its reliance on the tourist industry, as are other Caribbean nations.

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