June stopover visitor arrivals set for 160,000

Stopover arrivals in May 2021 were 122,522 Jamaica Tourist Board recently released data shows, just over 2,500 above ICInsider.com original May forecast. Data of passenger arrivals through the Sangster’s International Airport suggests that stopover arrivals for June should reach 160,000 or 67 percent of the arrivals of 239,000 June in 2019. 
If the trend continues, July is likely to see just over 200,000 stopover arrivals, which would amount to 77 percent of July 2019 stopover arrivals of 270,462.
In the meantime, arrivals for August this year could exceed the 215,000 arrivals in August 2019.
June arrivals through Sangster’s International Airport were 142,727, which amounts to 61 percent of the June 2019 numbers of 239,000.
For the January to May period, arrivals decreased by 36 percent to 366,499 stopovers, 207,632 less than the 574,131 that came in the first three months of 2020, with the industry closed until late June.
The total stopover arrivals, recently released by the Jamaica Tourist Board for May are down 42 percent from 2019, but a huge improvement over the decline of 65 percent that April suffered against the same period in 2019, additionally, May numbers are 48 percent above April this year, showing the strength of the recovery.

Jamaica’s GDP drops 6.7 percent in Q1

GDP fell 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2021 due to the 9.9 percent fall in category service industries, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica reported.

Mining records GDP gains in 2021

Declines recorded for service industries except for government services. GDP for Hotels and restaurants fell 56 percent, being the main contributor to the decline. The Goods Producing Industries grew by 2.6 percent, with mining and Quarrying up 7.1 percent. Construction grew 10.5 percent, but Manufacturing suffered a 1.1 percent decline. Agriculture fell 2 percent due to drought conditions, Statin stated.
Declines were experienced in Other Services 21.9 percent, Transport, Storage and Communication 7.8 percent, Electricity & Water Supply 6.9 percent, Wholesale & Retail Trade; Repairs; Installation of Machinery & Equipment 5.1 percent, Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities 1.9 percent and Finance and Insurance Services 1.2 percent.

9% unemployment rate for Jamaica

Jamaica’s unemployment rate was 9 percent for the period to April 2021, and marginally worse than the January survey with unemployment of 9 percent, an increase for the same period last year, data released today from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica shows.
The latest data is an improvement over the 9 percent reported for January this year.
According to Statin, 1,206 million Jamaicans are employed during March this year, up from 1,195 shown by the January survey but 3.2 percent worse than in April 2019. No survey was done for April 2020 last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The art, entertainment and other service industries suffered the worse decline in employment.

Jamaica Tourism arrivals jump 39%

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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.

Tourism arrivals jump again

Stopover arrivals in April 2021 were 82,702, up some 12 percent over March this year, with 81,114 of them coming from the United States, the Jamaica Tourist Board reports, there were no arrivals for April last year.

Growth in tourism expected in 2021

The April arrivals represent a fall of 77 percent compared to April 2019, with 366,425 stopover visitors. The trend for 2021 is positive, with arrivals in February in line with January, but February, a shorter month, is qualitatively better than January. March exceeded February by 68 percent and Aril is ahead of March by 12 percent. For the January to April period, arrivals decreased by 57.5 percent, with 243,977 stopovers last year but are 330,154 less than the 574,131 stopovers coming in 2020.
Airport traffic data indicates that May will see the highest monthly influx of visitors, with 120,000 stopover arrivals for the first time since March 2020.
The numbers are set to rise even more for the summer months, with some hotels turning away visitors being fully booked out.

Remittances surged 65%

Remittances into Jamaica surged a massive 65 percent in March, this year over the inflows for the same month in  2020 and probably the strongest monthly rise on record. Inflows saw US$328 million flowing into the financial system compared to just US$199 in 2020.

Jamaica’s Central Bank

The highest growth in 202 was June with an increase of 42 percent and inflows of US$275 million, while December with US$301 million was the only month that saw inflows reaching the US$300 million mark after it increased 35 percent over the prior year’s period.
For the year to date, inflows are up 42 percent over 2020, with increases of 33 percent in January and 27 percent for February. The development for the first quarter indicates that the country is on target to exceed US$3 billion in one year, for the first time, in 2021, with 2020 reaching a record US$2.9 billion. The trend suggests that 2021 is on track to reach or exceed US$3.4 billion.

Fiscal surplus for Jamaican Government

Revenues for the Jamaican Government rocketed sharply in April, this year over inflows in 2020 and 2019 and was up above the 2021 forecast by $3.4 billion to $75 billion to exceed the forecast of $72 billion.

Dr. Nigel Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance

The improvement saw most categories of revenues beating the budget, with taxes collected from Income and profits delivering $1.1 billion more than budget, with all categories performing above budget. The production and consumption category delivered a $1 billion increase and Production and consumption taxes contributed $1.3 billion more in revenues.
Government’s fiscal operations ended with a surplus of $12 billion for the month compared to a budgeted forecast of $5.2 billion, the results of the increase in revenues and a $3.4 billion fall in spending below budget.
Recurrent expenditure accounted for $56 billion of total expenditure, compared to forecast of $59 billion and capital expenditure fell just $326 million short of forecast to end at $7.7 billion. Salaries and wages consumed $692 million less than was budgeted for and programmes (recurrent expenditure excluding wages, interest and capital spending) saw $2.7 billion less spent than the budgeted $25.3 billion with outflows of $22.6 billion.
The government borrowed nearly a billion less than projected, with an intake of $14.6 billion compared to forecast of $15.5 billion and paid back $5.35 billion versus $4.6 billion projected.
The primary surplus jumped from $16 billion to $21.3 billion at the end of the first month of the fiscal year.

Jamaica’s reserves spike US$100m

Jamaica’s Net International Reserves climbed US$100 million higher in May to reach US$3.42 billion from US$3.32 at the end of April after a $300 million surge in March with a rise of US$303 to US$3.32 billion from US$3.016 billion at the end of February, this year.
The country’s gross reserves are now at US$4.35 billion and include US$930 million due to the International Monetary Fund. The increase in May comes at a time when inflows from tourism are at the highest levels since March 2020 as the sector makes rapid strides in recovery, with May having the highest number of overseas visitors since the country reopened its borders to tourist in June last year. Reports from the tourism industry suggest that visitor arrival numbers for June and July will be appreciably better than for May and should add to foreign currency inflows into the country and most likely the NIR as well.
The country is also benefitting from a continued increase in remittances inflows that became evident since May 2020.
The reserves are at the highest sustained levels in the country’s history. The net reserves represent an estimated 30.57 weeks of Goods & Services imports for Jamaica.

May’s Jamaica’s tourist arrivals to surge 44%

Tourism numbers continue to be on the rise for Jamaica, with May likely to reach 120,000 stopover arrivals or 57 percent of the 210,664 stopover arrivals in May 2019, representing the best month’s performance since the closure of the country’s borders last year March, but industry experts say the increase is coming, with steeply discounted rates.

Tourism is Jamaica’s largest earner of foreign exchange.

Arriving passengers passing through the Sangster’s International airport surged 44 percent in May over April’s arrivals to 108,320, suggesting that stopover arrivals for the country will reach the 120,000 mark.
The last report of total visitor arrivals put out by the Jamaica Tourist Board puts stopover arrivals in March 2021 at 73,646, up 68 percent over February. The increase is close to the arrival numbers through Sangster’s Airport with March this year, showing a 77 percent increase in airport arrivals through Montego Bay over February.
April enjoyed a 12.5 percent bounce in arrivals through the Sangster airport over March that had 75,139 arrivals, suggesting that April’s stopover visitor arrivals should reach around 82,000, well off the 232,834 attained in April 2019.
The trends suggest that arrivals for June could reach approximately 65 percent of the 2019 stopover arrivals of 238,888, with strong prospects of the rest of summer numbers bouncing as well.
Industry sources informed IC Insider.com that things are picking up in the sector, but there is unevenness as to who are the beneficiaries of the rebound. Hotels have been involved in steep discounting of rates to attract visitors and the big named chains are getting a much bigger share of the pie than the smaller hotels. For example, data out of the sector indicates that hotels with 100 rooms or more are said to have had occupancy levels an average of just over 50 percent compared to smaller hotels under 100 rooms with just 37 percent for May, while the expectation for June is 60 percent occupancy, with smaller hotels expecting just 35 percent, July is expected to have similar levels as June.
The curfew hours have played a big role in the grave disparity, the source indicates, in the vast gap in occupancy between the smaller and the larger properties. The larger hotels have a lot of activities taking place within their borders compared to smaller ones that guess spend more time outside the properties than inside, with the curfew hours restricting their movements in the night and what they can or cannot do.

April taxes indicate strong economic rebound

The government of Jamaica’s revenues surged an astounding 105 percent in April, this year over inflows over 2020 and an impressive 65 percent higher than inflows for April 2019 and suggest that the local economy is on a strong rebound if the April performance continues.

Corporate taxes outperformed budget by 39% for April 2021

The 2021 inflows amounted to $75 billion and exceeded the forecast of $72 billion by $3.4 billion and are the highest monthly inflows for the past three years except for the months of March.
In April 2019, the Government of Jamaica collected just over $46 billion in revenues and a mere $37 billion in 2020, the latter being after the economy took a major body blow in March that year, the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closing of the country’s borders that effectively looked down the tourist industry.
Taxes collected from Income and profits delivered $1.1 billion more than budget in April, with all categories performing above budget. The production and consumption category delivered a $1 billion increase and Production and consumption taxes contributed $1.3 billion more in revenues.
Corporate taxes jumped 32 percent to $1.4 billion, a lot better than the $903 million collected in 2019 and $1.08 in April 2020. PAYEE is up 6 percent or $373 million on a budget of $5.9 billion but is up 13 percent over the 2020 intake of $5.54 billion. Taxes on interest rose a strong 20 percent over budget to $1.7 billion. Special Consumption Taxes on local goods spiked nearly 9 percent to $3.6 billion, education taxes outperformed budget by 8 percent to reach $2.6 billion and GCT on local goods and services was up just 3 percent to $7.7 billion, but that is still well below inflows of $9 billion April 2019 when the GCT rate was 10 percent higher than the current rate of 15 percent.

Jamaica’s Ministry of Finance newest office building

Customs duty ran 13.7 percent ahead of forecast at $3.3 billion and remained below inflows of $3.5 billion in April 2019, but higher than the $2.6 billion collected in 2020. GCT on imports is up 8.5 percent above budget to hit $6.9 billion and much better than the $5.3 billion last year. Special Consumption Tax on imports outperformed the budget by 5.6 percent to reach $3.3 billion and betters last year’s intake of $3 billion. Travel tax is up a stunning $34.4 percent above forecast to end at $621 million but well off the nearly $2 billion earned in April 2019 and $1 billion last year.
April 2021, performance is just slightly below the record inflows of $85 billion reached in March this year, as well as the $82 billion outturn for March 2020 and March 2019, with $84 billion.
The magnitude of this year’s performance can be measured with the 2020 fiscal year when the economy was operating at full capacity compared to April 2020. The highest inflows in that year were in June with $60 billion, September $63 billion and December $64 billion.