Sandwiched between the islands of St. Lucia and Dominica in the eastern area of the Caribbean Sea is the French overseas territory of Martinique. The island is quite small covering an area of only 436 square miles and has a population of approximately 400,000. Being one of the twenty-six regions of France, Martinique does not use the East Caribbean Dollar like many other nations in the Caribbean area, instead using the Euro. There is one major player when it comes to the Martinique economy, but there are several industries which help to keep the island's economy afloat.
Sugar Cane & Agriculture
As in keeping with the majority of the Caribbean islands, Martinique used to be a centre for trade in sugar cane, after being colonized by the French in the 17th century. There were many sugar plantations and crops covering vast areas of the island. With the decline in demand for sugar cane through the centuries, the Martinique economy turned to other ventures to keep it stable.
Agriculture is still a big contributor to the Martinique economy and sugar cane production, although no longer prominent, is used mainly in the production of rum, the island's biggest export commodity. Other sources of income from the agriculture sector come from bananas, avocados, flowers and various vegetables. Currently, the agricultural industry accounts for approximately 6% of the island's GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
Tourism Flourishes in Martinique Economy
Undoubtedly the largest industry to massively contribute to the stability of the Martinique economy is tourism. The island has many visitors from all over the world each year, in particular those from Europe due to Martinique's French influence. As well as stay over travellers, Martinique benefits from being one Caribbean location that welcomes day travellers on cruises and the like. Overtaking agriculture as the top industry on the island, the tourism sector also employs around 11,000 people from the total labour workforce of approximately 166,000 (which is around 6%). The successful tourism industry on the island also helps to increase productivity and success in other service sectors including accommodation, hospitality and retail outlets.
The industrial sector on Martinique is the last of the main industries that help to keep the island's economy stable. This sector contributes the most in terms of GDP, at approximately 82%, and employs the highest number of the workforce at around 80%. These figures include the contribution to services that are part of the successful tourism niche, but there are other industries in this sector that contribute substantially: such as government jobs, petroleum refining, the canning of pineapples and rum production.
The island of Martinique benefits greatly from being an overseas territory of a stable European country such as France. With the backing of the French government, Martinique has become one of a growing few Caribbean islands that have a high standard of living and are likely to maintain a stable economic climate in future years.