Aviation sector scores big for Guyana’s economy but tourism leakages “unusually high”- study

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 August 2017, 12:50 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana’s  aviation industry contributes GYD$20.7 billion or 3.2 percent to the country’s economy through tourism, jobs and a wide variety of services, according to a just released study conducted by United Kingdom (UK) experts.

However, Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Retired Col. Egbert Field indicated that only data from the Cheddi Jagan ‘Timehri’ International Airport and the Eugene F. Correia ‘Ogle’ Airport were included. He said there were no records for the interior airstrips and aerodromes.

“We did get a few baseline data but we could not get the computer data out of the interior because records were not properly but we hope that by the next survey, we would have complete data from the interior locations. We have already set things in motion to accumulate such data and we would be able to use those in the future,” he said. Fields said the GCAA was satisfied that the data that were provided was sufficient for the study.

“The Impact of Aviation on Guyana’s Economy-a  report for the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority” is the first such study and would be used as the baseline to conduct similar studies in the coming years. The report says the economic  impact of the aviation sector on Guyana is “substantial”.

Director of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Retired Col. Egbert Field and the authority’s Director of Air Transport Management, Saheed SulamanSaeed during their disclosure of the study on the economic impact of the aviation sector on Guyana.

The study, which was conducted at a cost of US$50,000 by the Oxford Group, found that there were “unusually high leakages by international standards” mainly from tourism. Reasons may be, according to the study, that the small economy of Guyana is highly dependent on imports, especially for its tourist sector, and the model correctly captures this, or supply from the underground or grey economy may be excluded from the Bureau of Statistics Input-Output tables, causing this spending to leak or despite the best efforts of the experts at Oxford to develop the best available Input-Output model, limitations and inaccuracies in the underlying data may cause leakages to be overestimated.

The Oxford Economics recommended that “to help confirm the validity of these numbers, it would be helpful if the Bureau of Statistics  published an annual output by industry series, in addition to the current GDP by industry series, use comparable industry categories in employment (from Census) and GDP data, and release an updated input-output table.

Using 2015 statistics, the study report referred to tourism and states that there were 207,200 arrivals, staying a total of 4.5 million nights at US$25 per night and spending GYD$114 million. The study said Guyana also earned GYD$2 billion from travel tax during that year.

Of the GYD$23 billion, GYD$18 billion was from foreign tourism during 2015, the report states.

The study dated May, 2017 found that the aviation sector accounts for 12,040 jobs, GYD$20 billion or 3.2 percent contribution to Gross Domestic Product and one in every 20 jobs is from the aviation sector.

About 70 percent of the jobs are in the hotel and restaurant industry; trade, transportation and communication sector; finance, real estate and commerce.