A recession — triggered by COVID-19 — will likely last until the end of the year, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said this morning.
“I think there’s a lot of thought on this and… it (the recession) can be as short as two months but more likely it’s going to be for the rest of the year,” Turnquest told The Nassau Guardian.
“The reality is the U.S. market, our source market, has to rebound and be confident. As you would know, they’ve lost a lot of wealth over the last couple of weeks which will have a significant impact, the unemployment rate is spiking.
“So, the reality is there’s going to be a lag between whenever this virus subsides, and when people start to travel again. So, I think we’re looking toward the last half, the last part of the year.”
He said The Bahamas will “hopefully be ready” for next year’s early peak season.
However, for now, Turnquest said, “That means for now generally there’s going to be less income because of the fact that we have very little tourists.
“It means that’s going to be less money being made by businesses which means that they need less staff which means that they have less money to invest and so, the overall economy is going to be slowing and that will, unfortunately, likely lead to increased unemployment.”
Last week, Turnquest said projections reveal that the losses from the COVID-19 pandemic could total $1 billion over a four-month period.
According to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), if the falloff in tourism due to the pandemic persists into the last three quarters of this year, The Bahamas could see as much as a 26 percent decline in gross domestic product (GDP).