Tourist numbers down in Saba, Statia in 2017

THE HAGUE–The number of tourists arriving in St. Eustatius and Saba decreased by respectively five and nine per cent in 2017. The major cause was Hurricane Irma.

“A good tourism year in the first eight months was undone in St. Eustatius and Saba by Hurricane Irma,” stated the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) on Tuesday. Tourism in Bonaire also decreased by five per cent in 2017, but that was most likely due to the operational problems of what CBS referred to as “a regional airline.” This airline was undoubtedly InselAir, which had to reduce flights between Curaçao and Bonaire.

The number of tourists arriving in St. Eustatius increased by 10 per cent in the first eight months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. “This growth was completely erased by Hurricane Irma, which kept many tourists away. November and December did show a small recovery.”

Ultimately, the number of who that flew to St. Eustatius in 2017 was five per cent lower than in 2016: 10,500 arriving passengers. CBS noted that the figures also included business travellers, meaning that National Government employees and relief workers who do not live in St. Eustatius are included in the incoming tourist count. CBS reported no big changes where it concerned the tourists’ nationalities.

Saba had five per cent more arriving tourists in the first eight months of 2017 compared to the same period in the preceding year. In Saba, too, the growth was undone by Hurricane Irma with the major feeder, St. Maarten and its airport, having suffered great damage.
Despite a slight recovery in November and December, the total number of tourists arriving by air in 2017 was about nine per cent lower than in 2016: 8,400 incoming visitors, including those persons coming to the island on business.

The number of passengers who arrived by ferry and boat did increase in 2017 by three per cent. Especially in December, many passengers came to Saba by boat or ferry. In Saba there was also no large change in the visitors’ nationalities.

In Bonaire, 128,500 fewer tourists came to the island, which was five per cent less compared to 2016. “Operational problems of a regional airline were most probably the cause of this,” according to CBS.

The majority of the people visiting Bonaire had Dutch or American nationality. Cruise tourism in Bonaire did grow by a whopping 88 per cent to 407,000 passengers. Bonaire has been heavily promoting itself as a cruise destination. Overall, the number of cruise passengers in the Caribbean increased.

Source: The Daily Herald