As the economy slowly begins to recover, officials in the Caribbean say tourism is on the rise. Meanwhile, officials in Guam said the island is gearing up for a potential booming tourism industry, if the government will approve an expansion of the China-Russia Visa Waiver Program.
Caribbean countries including the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia and the Dominican Republic announced a record number of tourists visited the islands last year due to more cruise ships and flights headed to the region, according to The Associated Press.
Tourism officials in Puerto Rico said they are hoping to see a 20 percent increase in visits this year, with an expected $3.6 million in revenue generated during the winter season.
In Guam, government and business officials are pushing for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to extend parole authority to Chinese visitors, according to KUAM.
Eddie Calvo, the governor's chief policy advisor, told the news agency approximately 4,000 new jobs could be created for every 250,00 Chinese tourists that visit the island.
The DHS recently granted temporary parole status to Russia.
Calvo said if the program is granted permanent status for both countries, it could generate between $1 billion to $2 billion over the next decade.