Monthly Economic and Financial Developments (MEFD) March 20224 May 2022

Domestic Economic Developments


Preliminary indications are that the domestic economy’s growth momentum was maintained during the month of March, amid ongoing adjustments to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and emergence of new and more contagious strains—though infections further subsided. Tourism output continued to register strong growth, undergirded by seasonal gains in the high value-added air segment and the rebound in sea traffic, as vaccination efforts progressed both locally and internationally. Monetary developments were marked by a rise in bank liquidity and further gains in external reserves, as the expansion in the deposit base, contrasted with the reduction in domestic credit. The underlying net foreign currency inflows in the aggregates reflected strengthening private sector activity and further proceeds from Government’s external borrowings.

Real Sector


Preliminary evidence suggests that monthly tourism output sustained its positive trajectory, amid the subsided COVID-19 conditions.

Official data provided by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) revealed that total visitor arrivals by first port of entry expanded to 411,321 in February, from 29,510 during the same period in 2021. Underpinning this outcome, air traffic rose to 101,804 compared to 25,719 in the prior year—representing 67.4% of air arrivals recorded in 2019. In addition, sea traffic increased to 309,517, from only 3,791 passengers in the comparative 2021 period.

Disaggregated by major market, total arrivals to New Providence advanced to 200,564 in February from just 15,908 a year earlier. Leading this development, the air and sea segments rose to 77,299 and 123,265 passengers, respectively. Likewise, foreign arrivals to Grand Bahama recovered to 13,043, from 1,413 in the previous year, as air and sea arrivals amounted to 2,043 and 11,000, respectively. Further, the Family Islands attracted 197,714 visitors in February, vis-à-vis 12,189 in the prior year, owing to improvements in the air and sea segments to 22,462 and 175,252, respectively.

On a year-to-date basis, total arrivals over the available two months of data, rebounded to 723,522 visitors, a turnaround from a 96.2% contraction registered in 2021. Underlying this outturn, air arrivals accelerated to 173,712 passengers, a reversal from the 82.9% reduction in the previous year, as all major markets expanded during the review period. Similarly, sea traffic recovered to 549,810 from a 99.4% decrease in 2021.

As at March, data provided by the Nassau Airport Development Company Limited (NAD) revealed that total departures—net of domestic passengers—rose to 117,639, from 32,489 in the same month last year. In particular, U.S. departures advanced to 100,579 from 31,223 in the prior year, while non-U.S. departures grew to 17,060 from 1,266 in the previous year. For the first quarter of 2022, total outbound traffic increased more than three-fold to 275,086 from 71,686 passengers a year earlier; a rebound from the 80.7% contraction in the same period last year, which was due to border closures to combat the spread of the virus. Underpinning this outturn, U.S. departures recovered to 235,432 visitors, a recovery from the 78.6% decline a year earlier. Likewise, non-U.S. departures were restored to 39,654, following the 91.4% falloff in 2021.

As it relates to the vacation rental market, data provided by AirDNA showed steady gains in the demand for short-term rentals. In particular, during March 2022, total room nights sold advanced to 142,289 from 83,875 in the corresponding period of 2021. Reflective of this outcome, occupancy rates for both entire place and hotel comparable listings increased to 61.0% and 55.2%, respectively, relative to 48.4% and 42.6% in the prior year. Price indicators trended upward year-over-year, as the average daily rate (ADR) for entire place listings, rose by 6.1% to $528.55 and hotel comparable listings, by 15.0% to $194.81.

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Source: Central Bank of The Bahamas