SINT MAARTEN, PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications, Ludmila de Weever, is cautiously optimistic about the economic rebound forecast for this year by the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS).
The CBCS released its Quarterly Bulletin for the third quarter of 2020 this week and estimates the Sint Maarten economy to grow by 3.1 per cent in 2021 compared to the severe decline of 25.6 per cent for 2020. The economic damage caused by the pandemic was in fact more severe than the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Minister De Weever attributes the country’s economic turnaround in part to the measured response and decisive steps that her ministry took in the summer of 2020 with the phased re-opening of the borders under COVID-19 public health and safety protocols in July 2020 to the European tourism market and in August 2020 to the North American market, in particular to the United States, our main market.
“We started to lay the foundation for our economic recovery with those deliberate decisions. Despite harsh budgetary constraints and vocal criticism, we have been able to move from a serious negative economic malaise to a positive outcome. I am cautiously optimistic that the path to recovery is well underway, barring any unforeseen developments. The numbers bear that out.
“I would like to thank the hard-working staff of the hospitality, maritime and tourism sectors, who have been working diligently under our COVID-19 public health and safety measures which were implemented to protect lives and our health care sector.
“2021 will be a year of transformation for the well-being of our small, medium and large businesses and that of our people. Our initial figures for stay-over tourists released this week reveals that our path to economic recovery is underway, but it’s also a fragile transition and recovery, and therefore our recovery must be sustainable moving forward.
“The global recovery from the pandemic remains precarious, however, we are a resilient people who have been tested time and time again from natural disasters to the current global pandemic.
“I would like to express gratitude to our entrepreneurs and business leaders for staying the course during these tumultuous times. The public and private sectors must remain vigilant and continue to practice the COVID-19 public health and safety measures that are in place, even though the vaccine has been rolled out. The vaccine is part of the process for a sustainable economic recovery leading to the creation of jobs and a healthier future for the country,” Minister of Telecommunications Ludmila de Weever said over the weekend.