Wednesday, June 24, 2020

EXPOSED: Moody’s predicts up to 50% drop in tourism


Nassau aerial courtesy of Global Ports Holding

By Royston Jones Jr.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Touristic dependent countries are “significantly exposed” to the coronavirus-induced decline in tourism, and countries such as The Bahamas will face the greatest pressure on their economies as a result, according to Moody’s Investor Service.

In a June 22 report, Moody’s said The Bahamas, Maldives, St Vincent and the Grenadines are “highly vulnerable to a severe slump in tourism”, and due to large fiscal deficits, and higher debt burdens, these countries and others will have limited fiscal space to absorb the shock.

The tourism industry to be one of the most severely impacted sectors globally as a result of the pandemic with only gradual recovery in 2021.

“Overall, the Maldives, Bahamas, Belize, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Montenegro are the most exposed to a coronavirus-induced decline in tourism,” Moody’s said.

“These five sovereigns are among the most tourism-reliant sovereigns in Moody’s rated universe and small in size, with limited shock-absorption capacity.

“With the exception of The Bahamas, these sovereigns all share external vulnerability risk scores of ‘ba’ or ‘b’ — lower than most other sovereigns reliant on tourism.

“The significant pressure from the tourism shock is captured by low ratings (Belize, Maldives, St. Vincent and the Grenadines), indicated in current rating reviews (Bahamas) or mitigated by other credit features (Montenegro).”

The credit ratings agency also expects that due to the economic slump and lost income globally from higher unemployment, even after travel restrictions are lifted, tourist arrivals could decline between 35 and 50 percent in 2020 — followed by a partial recovery in 2021.  Read more >>