The Cayman Islands

Authored by: Scott B. MacDonald

Handbook of Caribbean Economies

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367210489
eBook ISBN: 9780429265105
Adobe ISBN:


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The Cayman Islands economy has enjoyed considerable success in the first two decades of the twenty-first century, despite substantial challenges. Those challenges include making the territory’s tourist sector one of the most competitive in the Caribbean and maintaining the offshore financial centre as one of the world’s major hubs for such services. In 2020 the Cayman Islands were hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, forcing a major contraction in the economy and pushing unemployment towards 20%. The pandemic, which closed down the economy for most of the year, underscored the centrality of tourism to the economy, a vulnerability that the authorities are expected to take measures to reduce. Throughout the developmental process the Caymans have sought to remain competitive and been usually proactive in their approach. Looking to the future, the Caymans will have to consider further ways to maintain a role in the global financial system, including fintech and extending what can be done in back office operations (which remain essential).

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