Guide to AnguillaTravel Edit

What is the Economy of Anguilla Based on?

Anguilla’s turquoise waters and pristine beaches are undeniable draws, but this Caribbean gem boasts a surprisingly diverse economy. Sure, tourism reigns supreme, attracting visitors with luxurious escapes. However, a closer look reveals a fascinating ecosystem beneath the surface.

Beyond the picture-perfect postcard, Anguilla thrives on a combination of high-end tourism, a surprisingly robust financial sector, and a thriving lobster industry that delights international palates. The island even whispers of its seafaring past with a hidden gem—a boat-building tradition that continues to this day.

Here’s a breakdown of the industries that contribute most to the economy of Anguilla.


This is the dominant industry in Anguilla, accounting for a significant portion of the island’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The focus is on high-end tourism, attracting visitors seeking luxurious accommodations, pristine beaches, and a relaxing atmosphere. Tourism is the kingpin of Anguilla’s economy, contributing an average of 23% to its GDP (according to estimates for 2017). 

While exact figures can fluctuate, Anguilla welcomes an average of around 100,000 visitors per year. These visitors come seeking luxury escapes, pristine beaches, and a tranquil atmosphere. Luxury accommodations, high-end dining, and various tourist activities all contribute to this economic engine. The US is by far the largest source market for tourists, with most visitors arriving via Sint Maarten.


Anguilla has carved a niche as a reputable offshore financial centre, attracting international businesses and high-net-worth individuals seeking tax benefits and financial privacy. This sector caters specifically to those seeking to diversify their assets and navigate a favourable tax environment. This includes international corporations, entrepreneurs, and investors. The offshore financial services sector plays a crucial role in Anguilla’s economy. It generates revenue through licensing fees, annual charges, and other associated activities.


Spiny lobster is a prized delicacy in Anguilla, and the lobster fishing industry plays a vital role in the local economy.  Freshly caught lobster is often featured on restaurant menus and is a popular souvenir for visitors. Anguilla’s spiny lobster is a prized catch, not just locally but internationally. Popular destinations for Anguillian lobster include the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean region itself. Anguillan lobster is considered an expensive delicacy.  Due to its high demand, limited supply, and fresh quality, expect to pay a premium price for this culinary treasure.

Lobster Fishing in Anguilla


Fueled by a thriving tourism industry, Anguilla’s construction sector is experiencing a surge in activity. New hotels, resorts, and private villas are popping up across the island, particularly in popular tourist destinations like Shoal Bay, Meads Bay, and the West End, to cater to the growing demand for luxurious accommodations.

Finding reputable construction companies can be a time-consuming task. Consider consulting established travel agents, real estate professionals, or local tourism authorities for recommendations.


While tourism is the cornerstone of Anguilla’s economy, agriculture plays a valuable supporting role. Local farmers cultivate a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that grace restaurant menus and local markets, contributing an estimated 1-2% to the island’s GDP. Limited landmass and the focus on luxury tourism restrict large-scale production, but Anguillian farmers find success in sustainable practices.

Common crops include mangoes, bananas, papayas, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and flavorful herbs like thyme and basil.  Most produce caters to local consumption, offering a taste of freshness to Anguillian cuisine. However, agriculture also faces challenges: limited freshwater resources, a small labour force, and competition from imports. Despite these hurdles, agriculture contributes to Anguilla’s food security and injects a touch of local flavour into the island’s culinary scene.

Agriculture in Anguilla


The boat building industry in Anguilla isn’t as prominent as tourism or financial services, but it does hold a special place in the island’s cultural heritage and contributes to a small but noteworthy niche market. Anguilla has a long history of boat building. Early islanders constructed schooners for trade and transportation, a tradition that continues today.

Anguilla doesn’t boast large-scale shipyards. Instead, it has a few well-respected, family-run boatyards specialising in custom-made vessels.  These shipyards cater to a specific clientele seeking high-quality, traditionally-crafted boats. The emphasis is on building seaworthy and beautiful boats, often using techniques passed down through generations. These boats are prized for their durability, performance, and unique Anguillian character. 

The clientele for Anguillian-built boats typically includes local fishermen, yachting enthusiasts, and those seeking unique, high-quality vessels. Boat building is more than just an industry in Anguilla; it’s a cultural tradition. It keeps alive the island’s seafaring heritage and provides a livelihood for skilled craftspeople. 

A prominent example is Rebel Marine Ltd., a family-run boatyard with over 30 years of experience building fishing boats, ferries, and other custom vessels. Their motto, “When love and skill come together, expect a masterpiece,” reflects the passion and dedication poured into their craft.

Overall, the Anguillan boat building industry, while small, is an interesting facet of the island’s economy. 

Economy and Top Industries of Anguilla