Every year, Caledonians make around 130,000 trips abroad. Half of those trips are for vacation or business in France and Australia. The other main destinations are New Zealand and the Pacific countries. If you consider that a person spends an average of 2,000 australian dollars per week, on a two-week trip basis, that would be a total amount of 525 millions of australian dollars that Caledonian people did (and will) not spend outside their home country since the planes are grounded in La Tontouta international airport.
Vacations at home
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, very few planes are allowed to depart from New Caledonia – mainly to link the island with France – and all the people entering New Caledonia have to go through a fourteen-days quarantine in hotels in Noumea, under police and security guards surveillance. A situation that is expected – at least – to last until March 2021. Which means that Caledonian people will have to spend their summer vacations (December to January) at home this year
Lockdown = savings
This amount of 525 millions of australian dollars matches with the recent analysis issued by the IEOM (the Overseas Emission Institute). This “bank of the caledonian banks”, which belongs to the French state, explained last August that, in between March and July 2020, the Caledonians set up a total reserve of 131 million australian dollars in their accounts. This money was saved because the Caledonians have reduced their spending significantly during the lockdown. The initial lockdown lasted from March, 23 to April, 20. It was then gradually lifted.
What are the Caledonians going to do with that money now? There are only two options: savings and/or local consumption. Since Caledonians are way more consumers than big savers, a large part of that money might be spent locally and injected into the island’s economy. An unexpected consequence that should limit the scale of the health crisis on the “Pebble”.