Basic Economic Facts
GDP: US$ 1.18 Billion (2009 est-CIA World factbook)
GDP per head: US$ 18,100 (2009 est CIA World factbook)
Annual growth: -6.5% (2009 est CIA World factbook)
Inflation: 1.0% (2009 avg EIU)
Major industries: Tourism, construction, light manufacturing, offshore financial sector
Major trading partners: United States, UK, OECS, Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago.
Agricultural products: Cotton, fruits, vegetables, bananas, coconuts, cucumbers, mangoes, sugar cane and livestock.
Antigua and Barbuda is an upper middle income country with a small open economy. Social indicators are relatively good. However Antigua and Barbuda’s base is very narrow, depending mostly on tourism for foreign exchange earnings, employment and revenue. Tourism is the major industry with hotels and restaurants employing around 75% of the workforce. But Antigua is a high-cost destination.
Gross tourism revenue amounts to almost 50% of Antigua and Barbuda’s GDP. According to figures from the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, total visitor arrivals of 234,410 to the end of Dec 2009 was a decrease of 11.8% over the same period for 2008. Over the years, the government has accumulated large fiscal deficits and debt repayment arrears, which have adversely affected the country’s creditworthiness and its ability to access external funding for its Public Sector Investment Programme. Public sector debt levels are 108% of GDP
Agricultural production (3.8% of GDP) is mainly directed to the domestic market and is constrained by the limited water supply and labour shortages that reflect the attraction of higher wages in the tourism and construction industries. Small manufacturing outlets produce goods for export including bedding, handicrafts and electronic components. The manufacturing sector accounts for about 1.9% of GDP.
In November 2008 the UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that Antigua and Barbuda would be added to the list of countries allowed to advertise remote gambling in the UK as if it were a European Economic Area state.