According to CBS: Economy Sint Eustatius rebounded with 21.1 percent in 2021; Tourism still lagging

A view of the pool at Quill Gardens hotel. Photo: BES Reporter.

ORANJESTAD – According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the economy of St. Eustatius strongly rebounded from the severe crisis during especially the COVID-19 crisis.

According to CBS the substantial economic growth of 21.1 percent on Sint Eustatius was primarily driven by a few large companies on the island. “Their production is mainly export-oriented and dependent on the demand for oil in the region. The demand for products and services from these companies declined in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and remained at that lower level in 2021. Nevertheless, the added value of these companies increased as they managed to reduce operating costs in 2021”, writes CBS.

CBS also notes that although the large companies have a significant impact on the GDP of Sint Eustatius, their influence on the national income is limited. The profits of these companies are not counted in the national income because they are fully owned by foreign shareholders. They primarily contribute to the labor income on the island.

Decrease compared to 2017

When the GDP of St. Eustatius is In comparison to 2017, there is a decrease of no less than 38 percent in 2021, from 142 million to 103 million US dollars (at 2017 prices). 

CBS states that this strong decline has several causes. In 2018, Hurricane Irma caused significant damage to the island. In 2019, some major companies were affected by regional developments in the oil sector, leading to a decrease in demand for oil storage. 

The COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, further reducing the demand for oil storage and decreasing the number of tourists visiting the island. In 2021, the economy had not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, as the sectors heavily impacted, such as hospitality and transportation, only experienced slight growth in 2021. 

Tourism lagging

CBS also points to the fact that in 2021 less tourists visited compared to 2019, the pre-pandemic period. In that year, 10.5 thousand tourists arrived by plane on Sint Eustatius, while in 2021, there were only 3.6 thousand which visited the island. 

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