Visitor arrivals, private remittances increase

The total number of visitor arrivals in December last year increased by 15.6 per cent to 24,021 when compared to the same period a year ago.  

This is highlighted in the Central Bank of Samoa’s monthly report on Visitor Earnings & Remittances for December 2018. 

“Apart from the usual events associated with the festive season, there was another notable event such as the start of Brisbane-Samoa flight route by Samoa Airways to mark its first year of operation,” stated the report. 

Visitor arrivals from Australia increased by 28 per cent, American Samoa 20.6 per cent, Europe 18.3 per cent, New Zealand 10.5 per cent and other countries up by 20.7 per cent. 

The bulk of the visitors came for holidays, which is an increase of 17.2 per cent, followed by those who visited friends and relatives (VFR) which increased by 16.8 per cent and other visitors by 33.4 per cent. 

Total visitor arrivals in the first six months of 2018/19 increased by 10.1 per cent compared to the same period in 2017/18. 

This increase was mainly due to gains in the number of visitors from Europe (up 16.7 per cent), New Zealand (up 12 per cent) and other countries (up 3.6 per cent), with those who visited friends and relatives and others increased by 45.4 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively. 

 As a result of a 3.6 per cent increase in the average visitor expenditure compared to December 2017, total visitor receipts increased by 19.8 per cent (or $11.2 million) to a record high of $70.8 million or 92.9 per cent higher than the previous month. 

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“Total visitor receipts in the first six months of 2018/19 expanded by 16 per cent to $287.6 million, over the same period of 2017/18. 

“Primarily underpinning this overall increase was higher earnings from Europe (up 28 per cent), Australia (up 21.9 per cent), USA (up 19.8 per cent), New Zealand (up 15.9 per cent) and other countries (up 14.8 per cent). 

“Proceeds from visitors such as VFR, sport, and other purposes all rose by 54.6 per cent, 1.7 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.”

The tourism price index was 1.9 per cent higher than the same month last year due to gains in meals and drinks, other transportation, family obligations and miscellaneous sub indexes, added the report. 

Similarly, total private remittances bounced back up by 24.2 per cent to $65.9 million and were 63.8 per cent (seasonal trend) higher than the previous month. 

The boost in private remittances was due to increase in receipts from American Samoa by 72.4 per cent, USA by 34.5 per cent, Australia by 24.5 per cent and New Zealand by 18.5 per cent. 

The total inflow of private remittances in the first six months of 2018/19 expanded by 14.7 per cent to $277.2 million over the same period of 2017/18. 

Largely responsible for the overall expansion in the first six months, according to the report, were gains in transfers from all its main source countries, American Samoa (up 30.1 per cent), USA (up 24.8 per cent), New Zealand (up 14.9 per cent), and Australia (up 13.7 per cent). 

By recipient, total funds for hand-carried cash, non-profit institutions serving households and family and households categories all rose by $19.8 million, $14.4 million and $4.8 million respectively. 

The report said share of remittances inflows coming through money transfer operators increased to 84.6 per cent from 84.5 per cent in the same period last year, while those that came through the banking system edged down to 15.4 per cent from 15.5 per cent in December, 2018.

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