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St Helena

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL10517, tabled on 19 November 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the Saint Helena Airport on the economy of St Helena since that airport opened, broken down by (1) year, and (2) economic sector.

Answered on

2 December 2020

One of the primary objectives of the St Helena Airport was to develop the island's tourist industry leading to wider benefits for its economy. Since the commercial air service started in October 2017, tourist arrivals have increased by 52% in 2018 with a further increase of 19% on that in 2019 when compared to average leisure arrivals on the island between 2010 and 2017. Estimated spending by tourists and other visitors contributed around £4 million to the St Helena economy in 2018 and £5 million in 2019. However, because of the global Covid-19 pandemic, no tourists or other non-essential visitors have been able to visit St Helena since March 2020. The outlook for the resumption of tourist travel remains uncertain.

The full impact of air access on the economy will take some years to materialise and there is not yet enough data to assess the impact on other economic sectors. The airport has however brought other benefits such as quicker access to the island and allowed for life saving urgent medical evacuations. The UK Government will continue to work with the St Helena Government to support the island's economic development.