The Caribbean region is highly dependent on tourism. The role of tourism in economic activity in the region increased steadily following the dismantling of the system of agricultural trade preferences in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the tourism industry has proved to be resilient even as traditional output and export sectors waned. Beginning from a base of about 4 million tourists in 1970, the region now receives more than 26 million visitors a year. The sector accounts for a large share of many economies in the region, ranging from 7 percent to 90 percent of GDP, and 32 percent as a simple average (Figure 3.1). According to the World Tourism and Travel Council, the sector also directly accounts for, on average, almost 12 percent of total employment, and indirectly for another 20 percent.