Economic growth on Bonaire in 2018

© We Share Bonaire/Jan Wachtmeester
In 2018, Bonaire's gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 3.9 percent in volume. St Eustatius recorded a contraction of 11.8 percent and Saba’s GDP declined by 2.5 percent. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.

The GDP volume change is the development of GDP value, adjusted for price changes. The adjustment for price changes is based on the consumer price index.

Gross domestic product (volume) on Bonaire
JaarGDP (year-on-year % change)

Bonaire: growth in accommodation and food services, construction and financial sector

The value added of the accommodation and food services sector on Bonaire rose by 19.3 percent. This made it the fastest-growing sector in 2018, together with financial institutions. The growth in accommodation and food services is associated with the opening of new hotel and catering establishments in that year. The number of incoming air passengers and cruise tourists also increased, by 10 percent. There were many construction projects on Bonaire in 2018. Construction output rose by more than 6 percent. Since intermediate consumption (goods and services used in the production process) rose less rapidly in this sector, the value added increased by 13 percent.

Demand for housing is high on Bonaire, which is also reflected in the number of transactions as well as house prices; in 2018, these rose by 52.8 and 21.6 percent, respectively. Real estate agents and landlords benefited from this. The value added of the real estate sector increased by 9.5 percent. Business services also benefited from the strong housing market. In addition, car rental companies in this sector recorded growth due to the increase in tourism.

There were also sectors that performed less well in 2018. The value added of the transportation, information and communication sector fell by 15.5 percent. This decline was caused by only a few large companies that operate in the transportation and storage of goods. These companies were negatively affected by developments in the regional oil market. The remaining companies in this sector performed well in 2018. The decline in the agriculture and mining and quarrying sectors was also attributable to one large company.

The value added of energy companies decreased by 4.9 percent because intermediate consumption rose faster than the production of water (7.2 percent) and electricity (-0.3 percent). The same held true for the care sector, where output did increase, but less rapidly than intermediate consumption.

Value added (volume) on Bonaire, 2018
BedrijfstakVolume of value added (year-on-year % change)
Accommodation and food services19.3
Financial services18.8
Business services12.8
Real estate activities9.5
Culture, recreation and other services3.6
Public administration and government services0.3
Health care and welfare-4.4
Energy, water and waste management-4.9
Agriculture and mining and quarrying-7.4
Transportation, information and communication-15.5

Contraction on St Eustatius and Saba

The contraction on St Eustatius, by 11.8 percent, was related to a few large companies on the island. Their production is mainly export-oriented and dependent on regional developments in the oil sector. In addition, they were affected by the consequences of hurricanes Irma and Maria, which moved along the Windward Islands in September 2017. Although these companies have a substantial impact on GDP, their impact on national income is much more limited. The profits of these companies are not included in the national income because they are wholly foreign-owned enterprises; they contribute to the island’s labour income in particular.

On Saba, the contraction was caused by the effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria. Inbound tourism by sea and air dropped by nearly 16 percent in 2018. This diminished the value added of the accommodation and food services sector. The education sector showed a decrease in value added as well due to a declining number of students in 2018 compared to 2017.

Gross domestic product (volume) on St Eustatius and Saba
JaarSt Eustatius (year-on-year % change)Saba (year-on-year % change)

Revision of GDP in the Caribbean Netherlands

This year, revisions have taken place in the GDP of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba. These have resulted in an upward adjustment of GDP on all three islands. More information on the revision can be found here.


A Papiamentu translation of this news release can be obtained from Statistics Netherlands’ office on Bonaire by sending a request via email to: