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Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is an archipelago nation located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean with approximately 84,000 inhabitants. It consists of two principle islands, Antigua and Barbuda, as well as a number of smaller islands.Geographically, the islands are low-lying with the primary environmental influence being the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Climatic features include relatively high and uniform temperatures throughout the year and steady easterly trade winds. Both islands are among the driest in the eastern Caribbean. Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the frequency of hurricane activity and impacts.

Tourism is a major sector in the country, comprising more than half of annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with other major sectors including construction, transport, communications, and banking and financial services (ALM, 2009; USDS, 2011). The agriculture sector is also an important part of the country’s economy, with major crops including fish, cotton, livestock, vegetables and pineapples (USDS, 2011). Antigua and Barbuda’s marine and coastal environments are characterized by mangroves, coral reefs and sea-grass beds; these ecosystems sustain the country’s sandy beaches and fishery resources, while also serving as protective barriers during tropical storms (Challenger, 2001).

The marine and coastal environment is particularly important to Antigua and Barbuda. Mangroves, coral reefs and sea-grass beds are among the principal eco-systems in the country’s coastal and marine areas. These eco-systems sustain Antigua & Barbuda’s sandy beaches and fisheries resources and serve as protective barriers against tropical storm and hurricane activity.

With a population of approximately 70,000 people and a small, open economy, Antigua and Barbuda constitutes one of the smallest and most vulnerable States in the world. Within the dominate economic sector of tourism, cruise tourism is an especially strong sub-sector, assuming an increasing share of the tourism market. At present, the tourism sector is estimated to constitute over 60% of GDP. Other principal economic sectors include construction, commercial activities, agriculture, transport and communications.