The 10th Statistical Bulletin of 2018 has been released, showing numbers of arrivals, departures, and the total population between 2010 and 2018.
A year after the commercial air service commenced on 14 October 2017, we have seen a recent record for arrivals, with more than 5,200 people arriving between October 2017 and September 2018 by both sea and air, excluding day visitors from cruise ships; an amount larger than the total current population on St Helena. In the first year of operation, including the flights in the first two weeks of October 2018, more than 3,500 people arrived by air.
St Helena is a developing holiday destination: around half of all those arriving by air came to the Island for a holiday, and just under half of those were St Helenians visiting family and friends. Between October last year and September this year, around 1,650 passengers arrived by air for a holiday. This is an increase of 725 compared to the 925 passengers arriving for a holiday on the RMS in the same period the year before.
There is a clear seasonal pattern of arrivals, peaking around the Christmas months of December and January, though it is less pronounced for air arrivals compared to arrivals by ship. The average length of stay of a tourist (excluding holidaying St Helenians) is around a week, with St Helenians visiting for longer � around a month.
Chair of the Economic Development Committee, Lawson Henry, said
I am pleased to see that we have had an increase in visitors in the first year of commercial air service, this is good news for the Island. We now need to build on this good first year and, importantly, listen and act upon the information we gather from what the market is telling us. Well done to all those involved!
SHG Government Economist, Nicole Shamier, said
The number of visitors to St Helena has risen significantly this year, and this is great news for the Island. The business case prediction of around 30,000 visitor arrivals was never meant to occur in year one. The growth was always predicted to be gradual over the next 25 years. The 1,650 holidaymakers we have seen this year aligns well with the business case prediction of holidaymakers arriving in the first year of the commercial air service. Thanks to the Visitor Questionnaire filled out within the departures lounge, we have also learnt that the average spend per visitor, per night, has been around Pound 140 and, on average, 40% of this has been spent on accommodation.
Director of Tourism, Helena Bennett, said:
With St Helena's tourism industry struggling to cope during the winter months due to the low take up of bed nights, it is reassuring to see numbers of both tourists and visiting St Helenians on the increase, and we anticipate that these numbers will continue to rise. Thanks to the hard working staff of the Tourist Office, the data collected is increasing and we can use this information to better understand how we, as an Island, are developing our industry.
Source: St Helena Government