Economic Development Committee Meeting Summary – Thursday, 23 April 2020

  • Non-Saint tourist arrivals in February 2020 were a record high for that month
  • Committee approves proposal to amend the Agricultural Water Subsidy

The monthly meeting of the Economic Development Committee took place on Thursday, 23April 2020, and the following is a summary of the main items discussed:

A presentation was made by the Statistical Commissioner and the Director of Tourism, which showed that:

  • In the period up to the end of February 2020, leisure visitors had increased substantially with the scheduled air service and that non-Saint tourist arrivals in February 2020 were a record high for that month
  • Most arrivals to St Helena are non-Saint tourists, followed by returning Saints (visiting friends and relatives), followed by returning residents and then business arrivals. Non-Saint tourists tend to stay for a week, whilst Saints visiting friends and relatives tend to stay for about a month
  • Leisure visitor arrival numbers have been on target in the first two years of the commercial air service relative to the 12% year-on-year growth which is required to achieve over 29,000 leisure visitors by the 25th year of the service operating
  • In December 2019 and January 2020 there were roughly equal numbers of non-Saint tourist arrivals from Johannesburg as there were from Cape Town. Around 37% of tourists are British, 21% South African, 13% European other than British, German or French and 9% American or from the Caribbean. Most non-Saint tourists are over 40 years of age, with around 40% being 40-59 and around 40% being 60+
  • In 2018 tourism contributed approximately £4-£5m to the economy, and in 2019 this increased to around £5m-£6m.

The presentation is available online at:

Enterprise Saint Helena (ESH) presented an overview of their progress and performance as at the end of March, with both the Director of Enterprise and Director of Tourism being in attendance to answer questions. Particular mention was made in respect of the actions that ESH and Tourism were taking in response to COVID-19, the impact that this had on the Tourism industry, and the package of support that ESH is making available to local businesses. Reference was also made to the forthcoming annual review of the ESH Project Programme by DFID, which would be undertaken in May, progress on the Dark Skies application, upgrades undertaken to picnic facilities at Rupert’s Beach, and the planning application for a Zulu memorial at Ladder Hill. It was noted that the Chief Executive for Economic Development had left the Island for medical reasons, however would be working remotely from the UK over the next few months. The Chairman noted special thanks to Dr Dawn Cranswick for her time on the Island, and conveyed best wishes for the future.   

The Environment, Natural Resources and Planning Directorate (ENR&P) presented a Paper to amend the agricultural water subsidy administered by the Agriculture & Natural Resources Division following the increased water tariffs by Connect Saint Helena from 1 April 2020. The aim of this Paper is to reduce the impact on agricultural production as a result of increases in water tariffs. It applies to users of agricultural untreated water and agricultural treated water under Connect Saint Helena’s tariff structure.

The Committee approved the proposal to pay a water subsidy of £0.37 for agricultural untreated water and £0.74 for agricultural treated water with effect from 1 April 2020.

Users of agricultural water who are not currently part of the subsidy scheme and may be interested should contact Agriculture Development Officer, Andrea Timm,  on tel: 24724 or email:

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1 May 2020

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470