Bahamas Economy Facts
The Bahamas is the richest of all independent states in the Caribbean and Latin America, per capita. Tourism is the dominant industry. Finance is also important.
Economic developments differ greatly between the different islands of the country. In the Northern Bahamas, tourism and fishing have led to prosperity, while southern islands with a small population have limited economic opportunities.
- Countryaah.com: Major imports by Bahamas, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
More than half of the population work in tourism, which also accounts for a third of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Extensive investment in the tourism industry, largely foreign, caused both cruise and flight charter tourism to grow from the mid-1990s to the turn of the millennium. The global financial crisis led to a decline in tourism revenue and the economy shrank in 2008 and 2009. The recovery thereafter was weak and growth fell again below the zero line from 2014. The hopes were that growth would again be positive in 2017, when the large Baha Mar tourism complex was inaugurated (see Current policy).
Finance, with foreign banks in the center, is the second most important sector and accounts for up to 15 percent of the economy. Following demands from abroad, the rules for the financial sector have been tightened, but the Bahamas is still largely regarded as a tax haven. The Bahamas has signed more than 30 agreements to disclose information on account holdings, to tax authorities in other countries. Money laundering still occurs despite the tougher reins, partly because the Bahamas offshore sector (where foreign companies utilize favorable tax rules) is so large. However, the number of banks has decreased and due to stricter Bahamian laws, the so-called mailbox banks have disappeared.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including BAH which represents the country of Bahamas. Check findjobdescriptions to learn more about Bahamas.
The Bahamas has one of the world’s largest merchant fleets, by weight. About 1,500 vessels are registered in the Bahamas, which provides important income.
No income tax
In the Bahamas there is no corporate tax and no income tax (either from wages or capital). Value added tax (VAT) was first introduced in 2015. Most of the revenue to the Treasury comes from import duties and excise taxes. Sales of state-owned companies have brought in money, among other things, several tourist facilities have been privatized and there are plans to privatize the state electricity company and the airline Bahamas Air.
Government debt has long been affordable by Caribbean dimensions, but it has risen in recent years, from just under 25 percent of GDP at the turn of the millennium to close to 65 percent 15 years later. Due to tourism revenues, the external debt is small.
The Bahamas has no foreign exchange policy of its own; the Bahamian dollar is tied to the American. Inflation is therefore governed by the US economy and price increases have been moderate since the mid-1990s.
FACTS – FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 31,858 (2017)
US $ 12,162 million (2017)
1.4 percent (2017)
Agriculture’s share of GDP
1.0 percent (2017)
Manufacturing industry’s share of GDP
2.6 percent (2017)
The service sector’s share of GDP
74.9 percent (2017)
1.8 percent (2019)
Government debt’s share of GDP
63.3 percent (2018)
Assistance per person
US $ 15 (1995)