Photo of the Pacific Islands

Photo of the Pacific Islands

Article from the Samoa Observer 

Visitor earnings and remittances drop

March 19, 2017

Total visitor arrivals to Samoa dropped by 16.8 percent to 9,593 visitors, according to the Visitor Earnings and Remittances Report for November 2015 by the Central Bank of Samoa (C.B.S). 

Similarly, it was 4.0 percent lower when compared to the same month in 2014, which was below its average drop of 1.0 percent in the past 3 years and 2.6 percent increase in the past 5 years.  

Despite the drop, total arrivals in the first five months of 2015/16 were 4.9 percent higher compared to the same period last year.  

This hike was above its average increase of 2.6 percent in the past 5 years and 1.0 percent average decrease in the past 3 years.  

Looking at visitors by country, the overall decline reflected mainly lower visitors from New Zealand (down 32.1 percent), Europe (down 10.5 percent) and USA (down 44.0 percent). For arrivals by purpose, those here for ‘holiday’ and ‘visiting families and relatives’ fell moderately by 23.8 percent and 6.9 percent respectively in November 2015. 

Despite a 2.0 percent hike in the overall average expenditure per visitor, total visitor receipts contracted 15.1 percent ($4.5 million) and was 9.3 percent ($2.6 million) lower compared to November last year. 

However, total visitor receipts in the first five months of 2015/16 was 2.3 percent higher than the same period of 2014/15. At this rate, it was also higher than its average increase of 0.6 percent for the past 3 years but lower than 6.5 percent in the past 5 years.  

Total private remittances fell 16.4 percent ($5.7 million) to $28.7 million or 12.4 percent lower compared to November a year ago.  

Moreover, total inflow of private remittances in the first five months was 1.5 percent lower than end November 2014. This current level was above its average decrease of 3.8 percent in the past three years but well below its 2.7 percent hike in the past three years but well below its 2.7 percent like in the past 5 years.  

Primarily responsible for the overall drop in private remittances were reductions in funds from the USA, Australia, New Zealand and American Samoa by 28.1 percent, 13.9 percent, 7.1 percent and 6.7 percent respectively. Furthermore, decreases in transfers for institutions serving households’ were the main contributors.  

The share of private remittances received through money transfer operators (MTOs) edged up to 89.8 percent whereas remittances that came through the banking system narrowed to 10.2 percent.  

The cost of sending NZD $200.00 to Samoa averaged around 10.6 percent, down from 10.8 percent in October 2015. Again, KlickEx – Low priority was the cheapest transfer service from New Zealand. The cost of sending AUD $200.00 to Samoa averaged at 11.1 percent and the cheapest money transfer operator was again KlickEx-Low Priority.