Caribbean island unexpectedly cashes in on AI boom through incidental means.


Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory nestled in the Caribbean east of Puerto Rico, has found itself unexpectedly at the center of the artificial intelligence (AI) boom. Back in 1995, the International Telecommunication Union assigned Anguilla the country code .ai for internet domains, a decision that now proves fortuitous as AI technologies gain prominence worldwide.

Initially, the .ai domain lay dormant in a place where modern technology, like computers and internet access, was scarce. Haydn Hughes, Anguilla’s minister of tourism and infrastructure, recalls the irony of receiving a domain code that seemed disconnected from their technological reality at the time. Fast forward to today, the island’s forward-thinking administration, bolstered by tech-savvy ministers, seized upon the .ai domain’s potential.

The surge in .ai domain registrations surged dramatically following the debut of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022, heralding a new era for AI applications. Registrations skyrocketed from approximately 100,000 in 2021 to 354,000 in 2023, marking a significant uptick in revenue generation for Anguilla. Hughes attributes this boom to the increasing allure of the .ai domain amidst the burgeoning AI landscape.

“This surge has had a transformative impact on our revenue streams,” Hughes explained in an interview with FOX Business. “We’ve seen exponential growth in income from .ai registrations, which has enabled us to make substantial investments in our physical and social infrastructure.”

Indeed, revenue from .ai domain registrations skyrocketed from contributing over 4% of the government’s revenue in 2019 to more than 20% by 2023, amounting to approximately $32 million. While projections indicate this share may stabilize around 15% as registrations plateau, the influx has provided vital fiscal support, akin to the dynamic seen with Tuvalu’s .tv domain.

Tourism, which constitutes about 37% of Anguilla’s GDP, has also benefited from the island’s unexpected connection to the AI world. The .ai domain has boosted Anguilla’s global visibility, attracting curious visitors intrigued by the island’s role in the tech domain. Hughes highlighted how these visitors often discover Anguilla’s rich offerings in hospitality, cuisine, and accommodations, further bolstering the local economy.

The financial windfall from .ai registrations has also bolstered Anguilla’s commitment to maintaining a favorable tax regime, featuring no taxes on personal income, capital gains, or corporate earnings. This policy has attracted attention and investment, ensuring the island remains economically competitive and attractive to both residents and investors alike.

Moreover, Hughes emphasized that the revenue influx has supported critical social initiatives, such as the Senior Shield program. This initiative provides comprehensive healthcare to Anguilla’s elderly population, underscoring the tangible benefits derived from the island’s unexpected technological connection.

Looking ahead, Anguilla remains poised to leverage its .ai domain advantage further. As AI continues to evolve and permeate various sectors globally, the island stands ready to capitalize on its unique position in the digital economy. By continuing to invest in infrastructure, tourism, and social programs, Anguilla aims to sustain its economic momentum and enhance its global stature.

Anguilla’s journey with the .ai domain exemplifies how a fortuitous historical decision can lead to unforeseen economic opportunities. Through strategic planning and adaptation, the island has transformed an incidental circumstance into a thriving pillar of its economy, positioning itself as a notable player in the AI revolution while enhancing its overall societal well-being.


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