AREA 35 square miles (56.3 Sq. km) CLIMATE Warm all year round, with temperatures ranging from 73°F (23°C) to 88°F (31°C) POPULATION 14,279 (2015 estimate) CAPITAL The Valley CURRENCY Eastern Caribbean Dollar TEL/FAX CODE 1-264 ACCESS 1 international airport, 1 major shipping port, 1 ferry terminal TIME 4 hours behind GMT LOCATION Anguilla is in the Eastern Caribbean and is the most northerly of the Leeward Islands. The island is located 6 miles (9 km) north of the island of Saint Martin and 165 miles (26.5 km) east of Puerto Rico. It also shares maritime borders with Antigua and Barbuda and the U.S. Virgin Islands. ECONOMY The Anguillan economy is heavily dependent on the tourism sector, particularly the high-end segment. The bulk of the country’s tourist arrivals is facilitated by Sint Maarten, through its Princess Juliana International Airport, which acts as Anguilla’s main port of entry and transit hub. With no direct flights connecting the island to its major tourism source markets (US, Europe and Canada), visitors from these regions are required to fly to neighbouring Caribbean islands and then transfer to Anguilla by small charter plane or ferry. Visitors from Europe tend to arrive via charter flights from Antigua and Puerto Rico. On the other hand, visitors from North America, tend to fly to Sint Maarten and then make their way to Anguilla by public ferry or charter boat. Because the US is by far the island’s largest source market, most tourists arrive on the island from Sint Maarten. Over the last five years, the tourism sector accounted for on average 23 percent of Anguilla’s GDP. The real estate, renting and business activities industry contributed 14 percent of GDP over the same period, the transport, storage and communication industry, and the financial sector, each accounted for 11 percent of GDP. In 2017, the island suffered a major setback, as it was hit by a category 5 hurricane (Irma), which resulted in damage estimated at EC$880.4 million, equivalent to 100 percent of its GDP. Given this widespread destruction, the tourism sector contracted by 16 percent and 25 percent in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Consequently, economic activity contracted by 6.6 percent in 2017, while post-Irma recovery efforts provided a major boost for the construction sector in 2018, resulting in a 10.9 percent expansion in GDP. By 2019, there was substantial improvement in the performance of the tourism sector, with much of the reconstruction work in Anguilla complete and operations at the Princess Juliana International Airport partially returned to normal. Stay-over arrivals increased by 74.9 percent during the year, with substantial increases in all major markets. Arrivals from the US represented 66 percent of total stay-over arrivals. The buoyant conditions in tourism had positive spill-over effects on other sectors including, wholesale and retail trade. Against this setting, real GDP is estimated to have expanded by 10.9 percent 2019. Because Anguilla is a UK Overseas Territory, its budget must be approved by the UK government, before it can be executed. This arrangement is intended to add another layer of control when it comes to safeguarding the health of the country’s fiscal accounts. By the end of 2019, total public debt fell to 49.9 percent of GDP, down from 60.3 percent 2018. There was also improvement in Anguilla’s fiscal surplus, which increased to 2.1 percent of GDP in 2019 from 0.1 percent in 2018. This result was driven by a 7.3 percent increase in total revenue and a 4.8 percent fall in total expenditure. However, given the challenges imposed by COVID-19 and the need for government to engage in unforeseen expenditure, the country’s fiscal accounts are likely to deteriorate in 2020. In the first two months of 2020, the performance of the tourism sector remained positive, notwithstanding significant signs of slowing. Stay-over arrivals expanded by 4.3 percent during the period, with the 0.2 percent decline in visitors from Canada representing the only fall among major source markets. Arrivals from the US increased by 2 percent, while the number of visitors from Europe expanded by 14.7 percent. However, the measures implemented by policy makers the world over to control the spread of COVID-19, ground international tourism to a halt between March and May. Even after the virus-related restrictions are removed, weak economic conditions in Anguilla’s major tourism market, as well as lingering fears surrounding the virus, are expected to restrict the progress of the tourism sector heading into 2021. In this regard, Anguilla may register a contraction in economic activity in 2020.