In this bulletin: estimates of arrivals, departures, and the total population

The focus of this Statistical Bulletin is arrivals and departures to and from St Helena, especially by air; St Helena’s first regular scheduled air service began more than a year ago on October 14, 2017.

The primary source for the statistics in this release are records collected by the Immigration Office of the Police Directorate for arrivals and departures, and the Customer Service Centre at the Post Office for births and deaths. A full set of statistics and indicators can be downloaded in Excel format from the ‘Population’ file on the St Helena Statistics website at:

Total arrivals

People arrive on St Helena either by ship, by yacht, and – since the construction of St Helena’s airport in 2016 – by air (note that day visitors from cruise ships are not included in statistics on passenger arrivals, although they are included in Table 1 for completeness). For the one year period October 2017 to September 2018, excluding cruise ship passengers, 5,235 people arrived at St Helena altogether. This is a record number of arrivals in recent times; the next highest number since 2010 was 4,205 in 2014/15, for the same October to September period.

Until 2018, most arrivals by sea have been by ship, on the RMS St Helena (following withdrawal of the RMS St Helena from service in February 2018, most arrivals by sea are by yacht). Chart 2 compares the average monthly arrivals on the RMS St Helena between 2010 and 2017 with monthly arrivals by air over the past year. Apart from the first three months of the new commercial air service, when the RMS St Helena was also still in service, arrivals by air have been higher. There is a clear seasonal pattern of arrivals around the Christmas months of December and January, but it is less pronounced for air arrivals compared to arrivals by the RMS St Helena.

Purpose of visit of arrivals by air

The purpose of visit of all persons arriving on St Helena has been classified as either returning resident, business, tourism/holiday, or in transit. Within tourism/holiday, there are two groups: St Helenians who usually live abroad but who return for short periods typically to visit family and friends, and other nationalities (i.e. non-St Helenians).

Around half of all arrivals by air were for tourism or holiday (1,650 people or 49%) and just under half were arrivals of returning residents or those coming for business or employment (1,538, or 46%). It should be noted that these figures do not include a full year of commercial air operations because the service started in the middle of October; for a full year (365 days) of commercial flights, the first two flights of October 2018 would need to be added.

Chart 4 illustrates arrivals by air by month; the typical seasonal pattern of non-St Helenian tourists is quite pronounced, but the pattern of St Helenians arriving for holiday visits over the past year by air has been quite different, with the most popular month being July. This coincides with the UK summer holiday season, but it is also likely that many St Helenians abroad chose to use the RMS St Helena over the 17/18 Christmas period, while the service was still operating.

Length of stay of tourist/holiday visitors arriving by air

The average length of stay has been calculated for those arriving by air for tourism or holiday purposes, and with a stay of less than six months. Only those visitors that have left are included; this helps exclude those that might arrive initially for a short period for a holiday, but who stay for much longer.

Overall, during the first year of commercial air operations, most tourist/holiday visitors stayed for about a week (Chart 5). But there are differences between St Helenians and non-St Helenians: St Helenians stay much longer than other nationalities. Over 70% of non-St Helenian tourists stayed for a week or less, with less than 10% staying for a month or more. But 75% of St Helenians visiting on holiday stayed longer, with less than 10% staying for a week or less.

Another measure is the total number of nights spent by the different groups of visitors, calculated by adding together the length of stay of each visitor that left. St Helenians visiting on holiday and arriving by air spent just under 17,000 nights in total on St Helena between October 2017 and September 2018, compared to just over 9,000 nights in total by non-St Helenian tourists – even though there were more arrivals of non-St Helenian tourists. This is because St Helenian visitors stayed longer, on average. From the total nights spent, it is possible to derive an average for the number of people on St Helena each night, by dividing by the number of days in the year (365). The average persons per night for those arriving by air for tourism/holiday was around 72, with 25 tourists and 47 visiting St Helenians. Like all averages, this does not measure the actual number of people on St Helena on every night of the year – on some nights, there would have been more, and some nights less.

Characteristics of arrivals for tourism/holiday

Charts 6a to 6c show various characteristics of tourism/holiday visitors that arrived by air in the last 12 months. There were slightly more men than women, and almost 70% were 40 or older. Apart from St Helenian, the most common nationalities were British, South African, and French (20%, 17% and 3% respectively).

Births and deaths

There were two births between July and September, the lowest quarterly number recorded since at least 2010. It brings the total number of births so far in 2018 to 15. There were seven deaths in the third quarter of 2018, which was also very low compared with recent trends. 33 deaths have been recorded to date in 2018 – more than double the number of births. Statistics on births and deaths are derived from records maintained by the Customer Service Centre, St Helena Post Office.

Total population

Estimates of the total population are calculated by combining the number of arrivals and departures and the number of births and deaths with the estimated population from the 2016 Census. At the end of September 2018 the number of St Helenians on St Helena was estimated to be 4,282, an increase of 47 compared to August 2018 and of 228 compared to September 2017. The estimated number of persons on St Helena, residents plus visitors, was 4,539, about the same as the previous month but an increase of 99 compared to the year before.

Definitions and methodology

The classification of arrivals and departures into purpose of visit or departure is based on the declarations made to Immigration Officers. Tourism/holiday includes short-term visitors or departures (i.e. less than six months) for tourism or holiday purposes, and it includes St Helenians visiting short-term to see family and friends, both those that live permanently abroad and those who are away for a period of overseas employment. Day visitors arriving on cruise ships are not included in either arrivals or departures. Business and employment includes short-term and long-term arrivals who arrive for work purposes, including those employed by the St Helena Government on contract (and their families). Returning residents are people who are returning to their normal place of residence (for arrivals, this excludes those returning for the purpose of business or employment). It also includes people returning permanently from periods of overseas employment. Transit includes those for whom St Helena is not their final destination; it includes most arrivals by yacht and any people transiting to or from a ship via air.

Three categories of the total population are used. The on-island population is an estimate of the total number of people on St Helena at the end of the given period (this is sometimes also referred to as the ‘de facto’ population). The resident population is an estimate of the total number of people living on St Helena (i.e. excluding any short-term visitors), regardless of their nationality. The on-island St Helenian population is an estimate of the total number of St Helenians on the island, regardless of their residence status.

Data improvements

The Statistics Office aims to constantly improve the quality and usefulness of the statistics it produces. For this release, new series have been calculated for 2017 and earlier, to distinguish St Helenians visiting on holiday from other tourists.

Two adjustments have also been to improve comparability between the statistics derived from the new data management system introduced by the Immigration Office in January 2018 and the previous system. The first adjustment is that St Helenians returning for a short term holiday visit from overseas employment have been categorised within the tourism/holiday grouping as St Helenians returning for a holiday (they had been previously categorised as returning residents). The second adjustment is that persons arriving on a yacht have been uniformly classified in the transit category, unless their destination was St Helena.

On Wednesday evening, 17 October 2018, Her Excellency, Governor Lisa Honan, held a reception at Plantation House to honour the visit of His Excellency, Christophe Farnaud, Ambassador of France to South Africa.

The reception began at 6.30pm and gave invited guests the chance to engage with the Ambassador, and to speak about the connections between France and St Helena and the heritage they share.

Governor Lisa reflected on the first year of commercial flights and the benefits to tourism. The Governor, in speaking about the obvious links and Napoleonic heritage, took the opportunity to remind guest present that tourism is everybody’s business. 

She stated:

“Tourism is absolutely central to the future of this Island and the people living on it, the key is we all need to engage with the tourism effort that is already taking place.”

The Ambassador of France to South Africa arrived on Saturday, 13 October, and is due to depart St Helena on Saturday, 20 October 2018.








#StHelena #Tourism #FrenchAmbassadorVisit #France /

19 October 2018

St Helena Government is pleased to announce that following an open-tender exercise, Island Images has been selected to operate the Landside Café on the first floor of the Terminal Building at St Helena Airport.  The contract is initially for three years and will see the landside restaurant re-open as a café.

Deputy Airport Contracts Manager, James Kellet, said:

“Following an open-tender and evaluation exercise involving SHG and ESH, we are pleased to award the contract for the operation of the Landside Café concession to Island Images. When the contract came up for tender, it was decided to change the focus away from a restaurant towards a more relaxed café-type experience. We hope that customers will enjoy their experience at the Landside Café and in particular, be mindful of the need to allow all of their fellow customers the chance to partake in the services offered. My best wishes to Island Images going forward.

It should be noted that Island Images will operate the Landside Café, and the Rose & Crown will continue to offer services in the Airside Café, as normal, for departing passengers.”

The new concession will open its doors on Saturday, 20 October 2018, and will be offering a selection of food and beverages to passengers, visitors, and members of the public.

#StHelena #StHelenaAirport #IslandImages /


19 October 2018


Three new Police Officers, along with a few current Police and Immigration Officers, will on Monday, 22 October 2018, begin a seven-week Initial Police Training course.

The officers will be undergoing training at various locations across the Island, with some units of the course giving members of the public the opportunity to observe and interact with the students.

The training will cover a wide range of topics, starting with the basics like ‘Uniform Fitting’ and the ‘Police Role in Society’ in the first week, to ‘Arrest, Caution, and Escorting Prisoners’ in week four, all the way through to ‘Firearms’ and ‘Sexual Offences’ in week seven.

Learning & Development Sergeant for St Helena Police, Mark Coombe, said:

“This is a structured initial seven-week training course for Police Officers. It will incorporate working in the community, so you will see teams of officers training across the Island. This is to make the training as realistic as possible, and please feel free to watch the training if you so wish. We will keep you informed throughout the course. This is phase one of the initial training with a further three phases to follow over a 24-month period. The training will provide the students with all the skills necessary to become successful Police Officers.”

Initial Police Training Tutors (L-R) – Chief Inspector Mike Miskell, Learning & Development Sergeant Mark Coombe, and Tutor Constable, Matt Silvey

There will be weekly updates on the progress of the students, following their journey through the seven-week Initial Police Training programme.

#StHelena #StHelenaPolice #InitialPoliceTraining #SevenWeekCourse

18 October 2018

The following is a public announcement from the Roads Section:

The Roads Section would like to advise the public that Side Path Road will be closed from 9am on Monday, 22 October 2018 for approximately three weeks.

 This closure is for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is to allow Masons from the Roads Section to carry out repair work on a retaining wall.

For the duration of the works, the diversion route will be via Constitution Hill Road. As normal, only Emergency Services will be granted access.

The Roads Section would like to thank the public for their cooperation and apologise for any inconvenience this temporary closure might cause.

16 October 2018

Data on Population, including total population and arrivals and departures up to September 2018 have been released on October 12, 2018: Population.

Additional statistical series and indicators are available on the Statistics Data page, and published statistical reports, including Statistical Bulletins, can be found on the Statistics Reports and Publications page.

We welcome comments and suggestions on any of the statistics published by the Statistics Office. Please email:, call tel: 22138, or visit the office in person on the second floor of the Castle, Jamestown.

Sunday, 14 October 2018, marked the one year anniversary since the start of commercial flights into St Helena. This is a momentous milestone for St Helena Airport.

The first commercial flight arrived at St Helena Airport from South Africa on Saturday, 14 October 2017, with 72 passengers onboard.

To date (excluding the past weekend’s flights), there have been 104 scheduled flights to and from South Africa. This has seen 6208 passengers arriving and departing from St Helena Airport on these flights.

As with any airport, St Helena Airport has also experienced delays due to unfavourable weather. Despite the wet winter season, there have only been seven delays to Saturday flights during the first year of commercial services. Nevertheless, commercial flights have afforded thousands of people quick access to and from the Island, enabling many Saints who have not been back to the Island for several years to return to visit friends and family, and become reacquainted with St Helena.

Chief Executive Officer and Accountable Manager of St Helena Airport Ltd, Gwyneth Howell, said:

“This period has flashed past us and much has changed. In the past year, as an operation, we have learnt a lot and improved our services along the way. We would like to thank our customers, contractors, ASSI, SHG, and of course our Airport Staff for their unstinting efforts.”

To commemorate the one year anniversary of commercial air services, SA Airlink’s Chief Executive Officer, Rodger Foster, is due to visit the Island next month.

#StHelena #StHelenaAirport #CommercialFlights #OneYearAnniversary

15 October 2018

St Helena Government is pleased to announce the visit of His Excellency, Christophe Farnaud, the Ambassador of France to South Africa, from 13 October to 20 October 2018. This is the first official visit by a senior French official in recent times.

This visit follows from a visit to Paris and Cape Town by Her Excellency, Governor Lisa Honan, French Consul, Michel Dancoisne-Martineau, and other Enterprise St Helena roadshow members in November 2017 to promote St Helena as a tourism destination following the opening of St Helena Airport.

The week of His Excellency’s visit will mark three years since the start of the St Helena Napoleonic Heritage Ltd, which manages the French properties associated with Napoleon. It will also coincide with the 203rd anniversary since Napoleon’s arrival on St Helena.

Ambassador, Christophe Farnaud said:

“I am very honoured to be the first French Ambassador to be officially visiting St Helena. This visit will allow us to work together to enhance our cooperation, in particular in the field of tourism, through the valorisation of the Napoleonic sites.”

The visit is jointly hosted by the Governor and the French Consul and aims to:

  • promote the opportunities for joint French/British tourism and the opportunity of two-centre holidays in South Africa and St Helena
  • raise awareness and strengthen the links around historical French/British/St Helenian connections
  • highlight the opportunities for French foreign investment on St Helena

The programme will include events with local tourism providers, engagement with Prince Andrew School, meeting elected members, and a set of cultural events to mark the Island’s shared history.

Governor Lisa said:

“I am delighted to be able to welcome Ambassador, Christophe Farnaud, to St Helena. The theme of the visit is cooperation between St Helena, the UK, and France. That cooperation is, of course, built on shared history. But that relationship has multiplied to the modern relationship between the three which we have today. Now that we have air access, and now that St Helena is open to the rest of the world, we must exploit that access for the benefit of St Helenians.”

Michel Dancoisne-Martineau commented:

“This is a major first in the history of the French properties on St Helena Island. In the 160 years that France has officially owned the Napoleonic sites, this is the first time that an Ambassador, as head of diplomatic mission, will visit his domains in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean.”

#StHelena #Tourism #Napoleon #France #FrenchAmbassadorVisit /


12 October 2018

Following discussions with staff, subcontractors and suppliers, St Helena Government (SHG) is pleased to advise that work will recommence in all areas with effect from Monday, 15 October 2018. Staff who have continued to provide essential services during this interim period are thanked for their dedication and commitment to the project.

SHG is pleased to note that all staff who received an offer of ongoing employment have now accepted and works can therefore resume. Normal hours and working arrangements will continue. Transport providers are requested to operate as normal so that staff can get to work.

SHG offers sincere thanks to staff, subcontractors and suppliers for their continued support and looks forward to working with them to complete the project successfully.

#StHelena #StHelenaAirportProject /


12 October 2018

Executive Council met yesterday with one item on the open agenda. This was to consider two proposed amendments to the Public Finance Ordinance, 2010 and to advise whether the Public Finance Amendment Bill 2018 should be published and presented as Government Business at the Legislative Council Meeting to be held on 26 October 2018.

Both amendments relate to advances made by the St Helena Government to individuals and organisations under the provisions of the Constitution which refers to “Borrowing or Lending by the Government of St Helena”.

The proposed amendments to the Public Finance Ordinance make provision for the total amounts that could be advanced to be increased from £1,000,000 to £2,000,000.

The second amendment allows these advances to be exempted from being approved by Legislative Council.

Council advised the Governor that they were content to recommend that the Bill is presented as Government Business at the next scheduled Legislative Council meeting on 26 October subject to agreement that the details of any advances made, are set out and laid in a Sessional Paper in accordance with the Constitution and that this should be done twice yearly.

Council also advised the Governor that the SHG Financial Regulations should be updated to include a cap of £500,000 on the maximum amount that could be advanced to any one organisation.


12 October 2018