Plans for US$1b boost from China
China’s investment in regional tourism and other industries is providing a ray of hope for the Caribbean.
In 2009, China invested US$7 billion in the region through private corporations, the building of major infrastructure projects, financing ports, hotels, conference centres and roads.
Plans are also in the pipeline by China Eximbank to launch a US$1 billion fund to invest in Latin America and the Caribbean.
News of these investments were contained in a report presented by Adam Wu, chief operating officer of China Business Network, to delegates attending the recent Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC) at Iberostar Hotel and Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Barbados was among the countries benefiting from China’s investment through the building of a new embassy in China.
In addition, the Chinese constructed a US$2.4 billion 3 800-room hotel and casino in The Bahamas – the largest casino in the Caribbean; US$17 million in a cricket stadium in Dominica, together with US$122 million in economic assistance; US$600 million in the deep water harbour in Suriname; US$100 million purchase of a majority stake in Omai Bauxite Company in Guyana, along with a US$3 billion investment in an aluminium project in Trinidad and Tobago and construction of the prime minister’s official residence.
Most agreements for these investments were made in 2005, during the First China Caribbean Economic Forum.
China was also the fastest growing outbound travel market, recording a 21 per cent increase in 2010 – at a time when most other markets were shrinking and stagnating.
Wu said: “Chinese are definitely keen on coming to invest in and or visit the Caribbean. Chinese investors follow the directions set by the government, and the more Chinese visit those destinations with good impressions, the more they are likely to invest in the region.” (CH)