Photo description: Man picking up goods with pickup trucks in the harbour of Saba

How was the economy performing in 2019, prior to COVID-19?

Gross domestic product (GDP) on Bonaire increased by 6.3 percent on the previous year in 2019. This was the highest volume growth since CBS started measurements in 2012. At the same time, GDP decreased by 8.6 percent and 5.3 percent respectively on St Eustatius and Saba. More recent figures are not available for this publication.

GDP volume on Bonaire (year-on-year % change)
Jaar GDP volume growth
2013 2.4
2014 1.6
2015 3.4
2016 2.2
2017 -1.3
2018 3.9
2019 6.3

Bonaire’s gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to 553 million US dollars in 2019. Just as in the previous year, there were many construction activities on the island; the gross value added generated by Bonaire’s construction sector increased by 23.3 percent as a result. The retail sector benefited from strong growth in the construction sector as Do-It-Yourself stores needed to import more construction-related materials. Other retail businesses such as supermarkets also performed well in 2019. The value added offered by the retail sector increased by 10.1 percent.

More tourists, higher value added

In 2019, the gross value added generated by the accommodation and food services sector on Bonaire increased by 11.2 percent on the previous year. This could be attributed not only to the rising number of tourists visiting the island by boat or plane, but also to population growth. Year on year, inbound tourism by air grew by 6.3 percent, while the number of cruise passengers grew by 15.3 percent. Population growth amounted to 3.4 percent. This resulted in boosted demand for food and beverages, also to the benefit of tourist accommodations, restaurants, bars, etc.

Gross value added (volume) by sector, Bonaire, 2019 ( year-on-year % change)
Bedrijfstak Gross value added (volume)
Construction 23.3
Accommodation and food services 11.2
Energy and water 10.8
Retail trade 10.1
Business services 6.5
Government 5.7
Culture, sports and recreation 4.1
Healthcare 3.9
Education 3.2
Financial services 2.9
Real estate activities 1.7
Agriculture 0.1
Manufacturing -2.3
Transport, information and communication -3.0

Large companies cause GDP decline on St Eustatius

The GDP of St Eustatius amounted to 120 million US dollars in 2019. The year-on-year decrease in the GDP volume was on account of several large companies on the island. These companies mainly produce for export purposes and are affected by regional developments in the oil sector. In 2019, they suffered losses due to a decrease in exports. Although these companies have a major impact on GDP, they only have a limited impact on national revenues.

Downturn in construction and education on Saba

The GDP of Saba amounted to 47 million US dollars in 2019. The drop in the volume of GDP for Saba was primarily on account of the construction and education sectors. The gross value added of the education sector decreased, because fewer students came to the island in 2019. The year-on-year decrease in the construction sector was primarily due to a greater number of activities carried out in 2018, when the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria was repaired.

6.3% real economic y-o-y growth on Bonaire in 2019 Buitenvorm Binnenvorm
GDP volume growth, St Eustatius and Saba ( year-on-year % change)
Jaar St Eustatius Saba
2013 0.8 5.5
2014 -6.8 -0.2
2015 3.2 1.2
2016 -1.0 -0.5
2017 6.6 -1.4
2018 -11.8 -2.5
2019 -8.6 -5.3


Gross domestic product (market prices) (GDP)

The final result of productive activities by production units in the Caribbean Netherlands. It equals the sum of value added in all sectors of industry, and includes some transactions that are not classified by sector of industry.

Volume change

The weighted average of the changes in the volume and quality of the parts of particular goods or service transactions or the value added.

GDP per capita (as defined by Eurostat)

The indicator is calculated as the ratio of real GDP to the average population of a specific year.

More information on gross domestic product (GDP)


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More information (in Dutch only):

Explanation of symbols

Empty cell figure not applicable
. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

About CBS

Statistics Netherlands (CBS)

In a society where the amount of information is growing explosively, free access to reliable and integral data is crucial. As the national statistical office, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) provides reliable statistical information and data to produce insight into social issues, thus supporting the public debate, policy development and decision-making while contributing to prosperity, well-being and democracy.

CBS was established in 1899 in response to the need for independent and reliable information that advances the understanding of social issues. This is still the main role of CBS. Through time, CBS has grown into an innovative knowledge institution, with continuous adoption of new technologies and developments in order to safeguard the quality of its data and its independent position.

CBS in the Caribbean Netherlands

Statistics Netherlands opened an office on Bonaire in 2010. The Bonaire office is responsible for all statistics referring to the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands: Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, compiling statistics about prices, population, labour, income, the economy, tourism and trade.

Publications can be found in the dossier Caribbean Netherlands.


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