Record tourist arrivals for Jamaica

Jamaica tourist arrivals are now running at record levels since August this year, with data showing the country enjoying four consecutive months of arrivals exceeding similar months in 2019, the previous best period. Airport passenger movements through the Sangster International Airport are up an average of 12 percent for September to November.
If the recent trend continues, it would mean that stopover arrivals should be in the region of 3 million next year, up from 2,680,920 in 2019 and would exceed those in 2022 of around 2.5 million by a solid 20 percent or so, with the winter months enjoying much higher levels of growth as those moths were down sharply compared with 2019.
Tourist arrivals into Jamaica continued the significant improvement over 2019, the best year for tourist arrivals for the country, with traffic through the Montego Bay Sangster International Airport rising 8 percent over 2019 and 38.7 percent over 2021 as 375,900 passengers passed through the airport this year, up from 271,000 in 2021 and 348,200 total passengers arriving and departing in 2019. For the eleven months of 2022, airport arrivals in the west of the country amounted to 3,918,700 compared to 2,240,600 and 2021 and 8 percent less than the 4,208,100 that passed through the airport in 2019.
Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston had 131,700 passengers passing through the airport in November this year and up a solid 68.8 percent above the 78,000 passing through in 2021 and 1.1 percent less than 133,200 passengers passing through in 2019. Kingston’s Norman Manley airport handled 1,398,800 passengers for the 11 months to November, 93.8 percent above the 721,800 handled in 2021 but down 17 percent on the 1,680,477 movements in 2019.

Jamaica tourists’ arrivals 17% upon 2019

Tourist arrivals to Jamaica likely jumped 17 percent in September 2022 over 2019, the best September on record, data out of Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay indicate. According to a report, the total number of passengers handled by the airport in the month was 300,600, up from the 256,900 passengers passing through the airport in September 2019 and well up on the 191,000 passengers dealt with in September 2021.

Growth in tourism expected in 2023

At the same time, 137,000 passengers passed through the Norman Manley airport in Kingston in September, up from only 73,000 passengers in September 2021 and marginally down 3 percent from the 141,029 processed in September 2019.
Total passenger movements for Montego Bay increased 83.2 percent, from 1,761,000 in 2021 to 3,225,800 in the first nine months this year and was 89.1 percent of the 3,622,100 passengers handled in the same period in 2019.
Kingston Airport handled processed 99.6 percent more passengers for the first nine months of 2022, an increase from 565,900 in 2021 to 1,129,400 or 20 percent less than the 1,410,142 passengers handled in 2019.

Jamaica tourist arrivals above 2019?

Growth in tourism in August 2022 exceeds 2019

Tourist arrivals to Jamaica may have exceeded 2019 numbers for the first time since the tourist industry suffered a major decline following the advent of Covid-19 in 2020, data from Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay shows.
The airport handled 1.1 percent more than the 401,500 passengers in August 2019 bringing total passenger movements in August 2022 to 405,800, which was 5.7 percent fewer than the 430,300 handled in July this year and was 2.9 percent fewer than the 443,100 passengers handled in July 2019. The Airport handled 294,100 passengers in August 2021.
The Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica handled 184,400 total passengers in August this year, an increase of 4.6 percent over July and almost twice the numbers in August last of 97,300 passengers.  Traffic in August 2022 increased by 4.6 percent from 176,300 total movements in July 2022 to 184,400 in August 2022.
For the first eight months of 2022, Sangster International handled 86.3 percent more passengers, from 1,569,900 in 2021 to 2,925,100. The number of passengers this year to August is 87 percent of the 3,365,200 passengers handled in the similar period of 2019. Through the first eight months of 2022 Kingston’s Airport saw total passenger movements grow by 101.3 percent, from 492,900 in 2021 to 992,100 in the first eight months of 2022.

Tourism arrivals 95% of 2019 for Jamaica

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The Jamaica Tourist Board’s last release of tourism arrivals to the country is for March this year, nearly three months away, unacceptable for one of the country’s leading industries.

Tourism arrivals in April & May down just 5% on 2019

Data for March from the Jamaica Tourist Board shows the county welcomed 215,789 stopover visitors, some 29 percent less than March 2019. The Tourist Board is yet to release April numbers, but data out of Sangster International Airport suggests that arrivals in April exceeded those for March, to be the best month for the year to date. Indications are that tourist arrivals could be off by just 5 percent from 2019, the year before the closure of the sector back in 2020. Similarly, data indicate arrivals through the Montego Bay airport in May are 9 percent less than in April, some 5 percent lower than in May 2019.
The April and May figures mark a major about turn for the sector. January saw 131,730 stopover arrivals, down 45 percent from the 216,509 they came in 2019 the JTB data shows, with 162,882 arrivals for February, down 36 percent from the 220,046 in 2019.

Jamaica’s tourism recovery slowed in January & February

Jamaica’s tourism recovery slowed in the first two months of 2022, as indicated by airport traffic passing through the country’s two international Airports shows.
The Sangster International Airport handled a total of 274,700 incoming and outgoing passengers in February 2022, just 2.7 percent ahead of the 267,300 in January 2022, but total passenger movements in February 2022 was 67.6 percent of the 406,400 handled in February 2019 and 64.3 percent of the 426,700 passengers handled in February 2020. The Montego Bay Airport handled just 75,600 passenger movements in February 2021, following the reopening of the country to international travel in June of 2020.
For the first two months of 2022, total passenger movements through the Sangster International Airport, increased 209.2 percent, from 175,300 in 2021 to 542,000 and representing 64 percent of the 846,200 passenger movements handled in the first two months of 2019, according to Aeroportuario del Pacifico, which manages the airports in Montego Bay and Kingston, report shows.
The Kingston Norman Manley International Airport recorded a decrease of 15 percent in February this year from January, from 91,200 to 77,500 total incoming and outgoing passengers in February 2022, well off the 122,600 passenger movements in February 2020, but up from just 30,100 passengers in February 2021. For the first two months of 2022 total passengers passing through Kingston grow by 114.1 percent, from 78,800 in 2021 to 168,700 in 2022.
The growth for the island slowed markedly from a fall of 20.6 percent in December last year and 25 percent in November compared to 2019.  Arrivals and departures of 281,115 in December 2019 slipped to 223,333 in December 2021, but last year December was well up on 2020 at just 90,164.
Sounds out of the industry suggest that March is performing very well. “The tourism sector is back on track with another record weekend of stopover arrivals, with close to 35,000 visitors coming through the Sangster and Norman Manley international airports combined, between Thursday, March 10 and Sunday, March 13,” Minister Bartlett stated recently.
This number tops the combined 30,000 arrivals the previous weekend, with Sangster International accounting for 27,000 visitors. Jamaica continues to be the destination of choice in the Caribbean and based on projections, Minister Bartlett says “we expect that this March will be the strongest in terms of arrivals since the pandemic disrupted worldwide tourism in 2020 and we expect in excess of 200,000 coming to Jamaica for the month.”

Jamaica Tourism arrivals jump 39%

Stopover visitor arrivals to Jamaica appear set to increase by 40 percent over May numbers, data compiled from reports of passenger arrivals disclosed by the Sangster International Airport suggest. According to the data, 39 percent more passenger arrivals came into the country in June compared to May this year.
May saw a 44 percent spike in passenger arrivals through the airport for the second city of the country over April, an indication that visitor arrivals should hit 105,000 in May, up from 82,702 in April. June arrivals through the airport, topped 142,000 for the first time since the industry opened up for foreign visitors in June last year. June this year ended with 142,727 arrivals for the month, amounting to 61 percent of the June 2019 numbers of 239,000.
Aircrafts arriving in the country, rose by 5.8 percent in June to 2,490 compared to a 15 percent increase in May with 2,353 units over April, with the trend showing increased passenger load.
July is set to see the total visitors breaking the 200,000 mark for an increase of 40 percent putting it to 76 percent of the July 2019 influx of 270,462.
August could see the industry coming back to the 2019 levels and may well exceed it and possibly suggest full recovery for the industry.
The latest Jamaica Tourist data published is only for April and was published for the public’s use on June 17, more than a month and a half after the month closed. The data for February was even worse coming out on April 27, nearly two months after the close of the month reported on.

Profit surges 137% at Express Catering

Starbucks one of the brands Express Catering will sell at the Montego Bay Airport.

Recent Junior Market listed Express Catering, enjoyed a big surge in profit of 137 percent to US$834,447 for the quarter to August, this year.
With management fees removed and revenues jumping 9.7 percent, in line with increased visitor arrivals to Jamaica, Express Catering, operators of a series of restaurants within the Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport good performance, came from revenues of US$3.8 million for the quarter.
The removal of management fees saw administrative and other expenses falling from US$2 million to US$1.7 million, but gross profit rose by US$157,000 as cost of sales grew faster than the top line, at 21 percent thus reducing profit margin. Management in their commentary on the results states that “they have since raised prices to compensate for increased input cost.” Express reported earnings per share of 0.051 US cents. IC places full year’s earnings at 26 Jamaican cents and that for 2019 at 40 Jamaican cents.
“The addition of the Starbucks Coffee to the offerings in the airport is expected to be completed during the third quarter. Work as already commenced on this initiative and will see 3 locations within the Airport,” the directors’ report stated.
The balance sheet shows US$4.56 million due from related party an increase from $3.64 million at the end of May and cash funds at $497,000.
The stock currently trades at a PE ratio of 19 with the price at $4.95 against the market average of 13.6.

Record $170M profit for Knutsford

One of Knutsford Express buses.

Profit after tax grew 40 percent at Knutsford Express for the year to May 2017 to $170.3 million but pretax profit was up a lower 28 percent to end at $164.4 million from revenues that rose 28.7 percent to $752.4 million.
Operating and administrative cost was up 29.6 percent to $580.6 million over the year ago period.
During the year, $107.6 million was expended on new fixed assets which pushed depreciation up sharply from $37 million in 2016, to $56 million in 2017. The financial statements reflect $49 million deposited to purchase vehicles, Managing Director, Oliver Townsend confirmed that they are adding “ a couple of buses to expand the fleet, some have already arrived with additional ones to come”.
Big expense items that grew sharply during the year are, Salaries up from $168 million to $194 million up 15.7 percent, toll charges rose from $11.4 million to $29 million, Fuel climbed from $64.7 million to $91 million and would be from a combination of higher prices and more bus trips. Parts cost $43 million fro0m $26 in 2016 while Insurance rose from $18.5 million to $27.2 million. Unfortunately, the company continues to present the financial information without breaking separation direct from indirect cost so that investors can determine more accurately the potential profitability.
Knutsford’s balance sheet presents a picture of strength with current assets of $231 million including cash funds of $156 million, up from $88 million in 2016. Shareholders’ equity stands at $483 million. Liabilities stand at $105 million including deferred tax of $12 million.
We will definitely open the transport centre at the Sangster International Airport later this month Townsend informed IC The centre is expected to capture a bigger slice of passengers disembarking from aircrafts as it become more convenient for them.
Subsequent to the year-end an interim dividend of 6.8 cents per share was declared as the final dividend for the year ended May 2017. The payment will be will be on September 15. The payment amounts to $34 million and is up 41.7 percent over the $24 million paid in 2016. The stock last traded on the Junior Market of the Jamaican Stock Exchange at $14.95. IC is forecasting earning per share for 2018 at 53 cents, putting the PE for the stock at rich 30 times earnings, at this level the stock is likely to underperform the Junior Market movement for the next twelve months.

Knutsford Express riding high

Knutsford Express last traded at $68.

Knutsford Express last traded in 2016 at $20, today its up 240 percent to $68, thanks to a combination of factors, chief amongst them is a scarcity of supply and a proposed 5 for 1 stock split.
A 33 percent rise in revenues to $203 million in the February quarter and a 63 percent rise in operating profit show the company in a pretty strong growth path.
Earnings per share closed the nine months period at $1.20 after the third quarter delivered 54 cents.
“We had a strong third quarter”, Oliver Townsend told IC, in response to the question, “can this growth continue,” Townsend answered in the affirmative. With our Montego Bay transport hub coming on stream by June this year, we should see continued growth as the company expect increased business as a result of having the hub located at the Sangster International Airport. The convenience of persons flying in and out of the airport being able to have easy and ready access to the Knutsford facility will see more persons patronizing the service, Townsend advised this publication. Ocho Rios is to have a new hub in which meals and drinks will be sold and thus enhance customers’ experience.
“We are also going directly from Kingston to Port Antonio using smaller buses via the Junction Road, the company’s Chief Executive said.
New buses added to replace older ones will reduce operating cost. The February results got a boost of $8.5 million realized from sales of buses, helping to push net profit up 94 percent to $53.7 million. For the nine months, revenues climbed 28.5 percent to $429.7 million while net profit moved higher by 35 percent to $120 million.
Knutsford does not break out its cost into direct operating expenses, marketing and administrative and other expenses so that readers can fully glean how the company is really doing, from an operational standpoint. Data compiled by IC show an improving level of efficiency as business expands. Net profit as a percentage of revenues climbed to 24.7 percent and is up from 20 percent in the third quarter of 2016 and ended at 22.34 percent for the nine months compared to 23.2 percent in 2016.
Depreciation charges rose 54 percent to $39 million well ahead of the growth in revenues, but the newer buses should reduce repairs and maintenance as well as the possibility that there could be fuel savings.
Knutsford generated gross cash flows of $159 million To February, up from $114 million in 2016, dividends of $24 million paid and $87 million spent of acquiring fixed assets left the company with $103 million in funds at bank or in cash. Shareholders’ Equity stands at $432 million with borrowings of just $68 million and cash and short term investments of $123 million. Current assets amounted to $180 million and current liabilities at a low $35 million.
The Company is listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange and last traded at $68 for a PE of 25 based on estimated earnings for 2018 fiscal year’s estimated earnings of $2.75. The stock could be considered a bit pricey, with the market average at 13 times this year earning. With a 5 to 1 stock split days away, who knows what investors may do in light of the limited supply of the stock. At least profit seems to be on the rise at an attractive pace, as such investors with a long term time horizon may well enjoy gains sometime in the future, based on the growth path that the company is enjoying.