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St. Maarten half-year macroeconomic report projects low growth


PHILIPSBURG–The half-year 2013 Macro Monitor report released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs shows a low GDP growth projection of 1.1 per cent for 2013, with cruise arrivals down 5.48 per cent and stay-over arrivals only experiencing a 1.4 per cent increase from January to June 2013. Occupancy did increase by two per cent, however.

The report is available for download on the government’s website (see end of this article). For the reporting period, Government revenues amounted to an estimated NAf. 218 million. This indicates an overall decrease of two per cent when compared to the first half of 2012.

This half-year 2013 publication provides a comprehensive overview of the economic developments in St. Maarten and other parts of the world. It focuses on the past trends of key economic indicators and gives an analysis of the developments in St. Maarten for the first half of 2013.


The number of cruise arrivals for the first half of 2013 was lower than arrivals in same period of 2012. The slump in arrivals could be ascribed to several factors. According to St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company, the decrease for the first half of 2013 when compared to 2012 was mainly due to fewer bookings and the unfortunate mishaps (mechanical and equipment failures) with Carnival Triumph, Carnival Dream, and Costa Concordia, etc., which may have deterred persons from cruise travel due to safety concerns. In addition, there were fewer calls by U.S.-based cruise lines.

Stay over

Stay-over arrivals in St. Maarten increased by 1.4 per cent in the first six months of 2013 when compared to the same period for 2012. This represents 16,380 additional nights for the reporting period, with the assumption that the stay-over per tourist is 4.5 nights on average.

New estimates for 2013 indicate a relatively low growth-rate of 1.6 per cent, which accounts for 464,203 stay-over tourists. This estimate is based on the average of each calendar month for the past five years and is substantiated by the fact that the United States, which is St. Maarten highest market, is still in its recovery stage.


With regard to the performance of the various regions, the Caribbean, North America and South America all showed positive signs for the first half of 2013, while Europe had a decrease of negative 1.82 per cent and the “Rest of the World” had a decrease in arrivals of negative 5.37 per cent.

According to the Ministry, this positive performance in arrivals could be explained by the fact that major economies are just recovering from recessionary stages, due in part to the policy measures taken to stabilise the various economies.

For 2013, the Caribbean region showed an increase in arrivals of 8.25 per cent, totalling 12,218 arrivals as compared to 11,287 arrivals in 2012. For the reporting period, the European region, which contributes 21 per cent of St. Maarten’s overall tourist arrivals, has registered a 1.82 per cent decrease in arrivals to St. Maarten.

Arrivals from this region for the first half of the year amounted to 54,164, compared to 55,168 for 2012, during the period of January to June 2013. The South American region, in which heavy emphasis is placed on marketing support, showed positive signs of growth for the first half of 2013. This region represents 3.29 per cent of the overall arrivals to St. Maarten and has grown by 5.40 per cent for the reporting period compared to 2012.

All of the countries focused on have displayed this positive growth trend, including Brazil with 11.52 per cent growth, Argentina with 20.80 per cent, Chile with 175.68 per cent and Venezuela with 2.75 per cent growth in tourist arrivals to St. Maarten for the period January to June 2013 when compared to the same period of 2012.


Hotel and timeshare occupancy rates stood at 67 per cent and 76 per cent respectively for the first half of 2013. This represents a slight increase of one per cent in both hotel and timeshare occupancy, when compared to the same period for 2012.

Deeper analysis indicates that for the reporting period January to June, timeshare occupancy maintained an average of nine per cent above hotel occupancy, except for the month of April in which they were even at 72 per cent. This may be attributed to the Carnival activities that drew a number of visitors to the island.

In addition, timeshare and hotels combined indicated an overall occupancy rate of 72 per cent for the first six months of 2013. This is an upsurge of two per cent when compared to first half of 2012. From a month-by-month perspective the growth was stable between one and two per cent when compared to 2012, except for the months of April and May which went up four per cent and three per cent respectively.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten


To view or the report:

MacroMonitor Economic Report Half Year 2013

Source: St. Maarten Government

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