COUNTRYAAH, Barbados is among the Caribbean's most prosperous states.
The country's economy has traditionally been based on sugar
production, but from the first part of the 1970s tourism
took over as the main source of income. Tourism accounts for
more than half of the country's revenue, and every year
Barbados is visited by far more tourists than there are
local residents. In 2001, service industries employed 76% of
the workforce and contributed approx. 80% of GDP. The
financial sector with so-called upshore banking has become
increasingly important. Both the sugar industry and tourism
are seasonal and there is great unemployment at times and
many barbades go abroad after work.
The vast majority of agricultural land is used for sugar
cane. Sugar production has declined in recent years, partly
as a result of reduced demand in the world market. The
authorities have therefore stimulated the cultivation of
other crops, including cotton (Gossypium barbadense)
and tropical fruits. Otherwise, corn, sweet potatoes,
carrots, yam roots and other vegetables are grown, mainly
for local consumption. The primary industries employed 4.2%
of the working population in 2001, accounting for 4.7% of
the gross domestic product in the same year.
The industry includes manufacturing of rooms, sugar
factories as well as the manufacture of chemicals, plastics
and rubber products, textiles, electronic components and
cigarettes. In 2001, the industry employed approx. 20% of
the workforce and contributed approx. 17% to GDP. Some crude
oil and natural gas are also extracted.
The main export goods are sugar, molasses and rum,
chemicals, electronic components and clothing. Imports
include machinery and transport equipment, food and oil
products. Major trading partners are the United States, the
United Kingdom and other Caricom countries, in particular
Trinidad and Tobago.
Transport and Communications
Dense road network. Bridgetown has a deep water port and
is the only port city of importance. Seawell International
Airport at the southern tip of the island, 18 km from the