Tourism drives Jamaica’ GDP to 4%

Big increase in visitor arrivals in the first quarter of 2019 set to give Jamaica’s GDP a big lift in the quarter.

The huge increase in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2019 is likely to result in a 4 percent growth in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of the year, data compiled by IC Insider.com suggest.
While the category of Hotels and Restaurants that tourism sector falls only accounts for around 7% of total GDP, the huge increase in stop over arrivals being enjoyed by the sector in the March quarter, will most likely more than compensate for its size in GDP computation and could add as much as one percentage point, to the quarter’s growth.
According to the Jamaica Tourist Board, “stopover arrivals in January 2019 were 216,509 an increase of 11.3% or 21,900 additional arrivals over the 194,609 recorded in January 2018.” Importantly, the arrivals from USA, the country with the high tourism spend is up 20 percent and would have contributed more in inflows as a result of the higher spend even as number of nights they stayed slipped a bit form 2018.

Construction sector is also expecetd to continue to lift the economy in 2019.


February, is up by 14.9 percent, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett told The Sunday Gleaner and reported by that publication on March 3. The Jamaica Observer stated, “data provided by Delano Seiveright, communications strategist and advisor in the Ministry of Tourism, show that total visitor arrivals for the period March 1-17 amounted to 148,052, a 24.8 percent increase over the 118,597 recorded for the same period last year. Breaking down the numbers, Seiveright said that for the period March 1-17 this year Montego Bay welcomed 125,069 visitors, an increase of 22.7 percent compared to 101,967 for the same period last year, while the numbers for Kingston were 22,983, up 38.2 percent over the same period last year.”

Financiers bullish on Carib tourism

Entities eyeing the Caribbean region and in need of financing should be encouraged by findings by top accounting firm KPMG included in their annual survey on financing for the sector amongst banks and non-banks.
“Confidence levels of banks increased yet again for an amazing ninth year in a row,” the survey stated and went on to indicate that “confidence levels of non-banks also increased.” “Overall non-banks remain more confident than banks registering 7.43 out of 10 in terms of their level of confidence versus 7.11 out of 10 for banks. For both banks and non-banks to exhibit these high levels of confidence would be very positive at any time but for them to do so following what can only be described as a catastrophic 2017 hurricane season for the region, represents very welcome, positive news,” the KPMG report stated.
“Canadian headquartered banks have for many years been the primary financiers of developments in the region’s tourism industry. However, it is now firmly established that the landscape has changed, although the Canadian banks remain very much part of that new landscape. The consensus view appears to be that they are “back in the market but more selective than before”. Other “players” are predominantly local banks who are increasingly participating in syndicated deals, U.S. funds, pension funds and insurance companies and development banks who are also active in the marketplace,” the survey finding went ion to say.