Anguilla is a small island located in the Lesser Antilles area of the Caribbean. It lies to the north of St. Martin and to the east of Puerto Rico. The island (at least the main island on which there is a permanent population) is only 35 square miles and has around 14,000 people living on it. The currency of the island is the East Caribbean Dollar which is tied to a fix rate against the US Dollar. With little in the way of natural resources such as fossil fuels and the lack of fertile soil for heavy agriculture, the Anguilla economy relies heavily on other types on industry to keep it afloat.
Being an island, Anguilla has certain limitations in what it can use to sustain its own economy. When the British first arrived on the island, back in the 17th century for example, there was an attempt to turn Anguilla's hand to sugarcane plantations, like many of the islands in the Caribbean at that time. With such poor, infertile soil, however, it was soon realised that the island was not the best for this type of industry.
Angilla Economy Exports
Although Anguilla is somewhat lacking in terms of agricultural opportunities, part of its economy today is made up from the exportation of goods such as lobsters and livestock. With plenty of water to fish in around the coast and enough measures in place to breed animals, this is one small part of the export industry on Anguilla. Other items that are exported to countries such as the United Kingdom, United States of America, St. Martin and Puerto Rico from Anguilla include salt, rum and blocks of concrete.
One area of the Anguilla economy that is flourishing on the island is offshore banking, something that the government officials on the island are keen to develop. As a result there is the ACORN (Anguilla Commercial Online Registration Network) scheme running and around 2% of people on Anguilla are employed in the financial sector. The offshore sector is still small at the moment but it is hoped that it will grow, adding merit to the Anguilla economy.
Undoubtedly, the biggest part of the Anguilla economy and its mainstay, like many Caribbean islands today, is tourism. The island suffered from hurricane damage in both 1995 and 2000, but has bounced back well in terms of tourism from the effects of these events. With beautiful beaches, plenty of water-based activities and several interesting tourist attractions, it is estimated that over 100,000 people visit the island every year.
The tourism industry that drives the Anguilla economy is centred mainly on luxury holidays with plush accommodation, yet there are plans to make the island more accessible for those who are trying to get away on a budget. As a result, there are new hotels and other types of accommodation being built on the island at a steady rate and the introduction of new attractions is also in the pipeline. Due to this demand for new additions in the tourism sector on the island, the labour force on Anguilla has seen a rise in the number of construction jobs. This means that the percentage of people in employment in the construction industry is around 18% at this time.
It is fair to state at this time that the Anguilla economy is buoyant and with a strong foothold on its best asset, tourism, the island is set to remain in a stable position for many years to come.