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Despite a speedy recovery, the Caribbean is poised to lose billions of tourism dollars

Many Caribbean beaches, such as this one in Martinique were untouched by hurricanes in 2017. Still, the Caribbean stands to lose $3 billion over the next four years. –Christopher Muther/Globe staff

The numbers are sobering.

When hurricanes Irma and Maria battered the Caribbean last fall, the region lost nearly 1 million visitors and an estimated $900 million in tourism-related spending. But as bad as those figures appear, the worst is yet to come.

As hotels, restaurants, resorts, and island infrastructures are restored, the Caribbean could see losses totaling more than $3 billion during the next four years until visitor rates climb back to 2016 levels, according to research presented at the World Travel & Tourism Council conference in Buenos Aires. The economic analysis is one of the most complete since the storms devastated many of the islands.

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November 16, 2018 | 9:01 AM