Trinidad and Tobago are among the richest and most industrialized countries in the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago is one of the world’s oldest oil-producing countries; the oil and gas industry dominates the country’s economy and accounts for about 40 percent of GDP and 80 percent of exports. The government has widened the industrial base by including chemical factories and steel mills.
Agriculture has decreased in importance and employs almost 4 percent. Sugar plantation was formerly Trinidad and Tobago’s main industry, but now accounts for less than 2 percent of exports. Other salad crops are coconuts, cocoa, coffee and fruit. In order to reduce dependence on food imports, cultivation of rice and vegetables has been stimulated. The importance of service industries has increased, and they employ 63 percent of the population. Tourism has become an increasingly important source of income. The country’s most important trading partner is the United States.
- COUNTRYAAH: Find major trading partners of Trinidad and Tobago, including major exports and major imports with latest trade value and market share as well as growth rate.
Tourism and gastronomy
Compared to other Caribbean countries, tourism has long played a limited role in Trinidad and Tobago. From the 1980s, however, great efforts have been made to broaden and strengthen the country’s economy through investments in the tourism industry. Hotels and tourist facilities have been added in Port of Spain and Scarborough. The number of foreign visitors is constantly increasing, as are foreign exchange revenues. In 2012, the country was visited by about 400,000 tourists.
In addition to the islands’ fine climate and sandy beaches, visitors are attracted by the music culture (calypso, steel bands), the annual carnivals and the diverse folk life. The opportunities for water sports and diving are good, not least around Tobago, where Buccoorevet is the most well-known coral formation.
- According to AllCityPopulation, the capital city of Trinidad and Tobago is Port of Spain with a population of 37,000 (2011 Census). Other major cities include Chaguanas with a population of 84,000, San Fernando with a population of 49,000, Arima with a population of 34,000 (2011 census).
For the nature-interested tourist, Trinidad and Tobago offer many easily accessible tourist destinations. The rainforests in the northern part of the main island are among the richest in the Caribbean, with both Caribbean and South American features in both flora and fauna. The wetland areas, such as Caroni Swamp south of Port of Spain, exhibit a variety of birds.
The food in Trinidad and Tobago, as in the rest of the Caribbean, is characterized by the different cultures that are represented in the country and by the historical background. Thus, the cuisine is very African and Indian inspired, with British features and of course influenced by the sea and climate. Peppers of different strength and curry mixes dominate the seasoning, and among the ingredients are bananas, breadfruit, cassava, taro, okra, citrus fruits, coconut and sweet potatoes. Legumes and rice are also important staples, the former being included in dishes such as pigeon peas and rice (chicken stew with peas or beans in pepper sauce with tomato).
Pork is often grilled, preferably marinated with chili and cinnamon (jerk pork). The common Caribbean pot callaloo is often cooked on crab and leafy greens or spinach as well as coconut milk and rum. In spite of the rich fishing, you eat of dried dried salted cod; broth is such in a tasty pot where the other ingredients are onion, chilli, bell pepper, boiled eggs, avocado and tomato. Sweet puddings with rice, corn, breadfruit and coconut bring with it a British scent, otherwise fresh fruit is the dominant element on the dessert table.