BELIZE CITY, February 8, 2001--- The Belize Tourism Board is pleased to
report that for tourist arrivals, the year 2001 is off to a very
encouraging start. Reports from the Immigration Department show that
arrivals at the Phillip Goldson International Airport were a
12,008 for January 2001. This figure is an 8.5% increase over January
2000's level and is the highest recorded number of tourist arrivals ever
for the month of January.

These increases are especially significant in view of a weakening US
economy where job layoffs and a likely reduction in the disposable income
of Americans usually result in decreased international travel,
in the dive and adventure tourism market. During the first half of
arrivals were up some 27% compared to the same period in 2000 and arrivals
for the second half of January, whilst lower than expected, suggest that
Belize's marketing programs will ensure that Belize is competitive with
other destinations and is likely to maintain or improve its market

The Registrar of Hotels at the BTB also reports a 30% increase in national
hotel occupancy levels for the period January-November, 2000 with an
increase recorded in the actual national occupancy rate from 32.1% to
41.9%. Hotels in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye showed the highest occupancy
level of 53% for this period representing a 38% increase over the same
period in 1999. Other destinations within the country also showed
significant increases in hotel occupancy levels for 2000 compared to 1999:
Belize City and the Belize District a 36% increase, Placencia up 45%,
Cayes up 21%, Dangriga up 27%, Caye Caulker up 60% and Cayo up 20%.

"We are pleased to see that the trend of increased tourist arrivals
continues in 2001," comments Mark Espat, Minister of Tourism. "Finally
also, there are increases to the national hotel occupancy rates, a measure
that will strengthen the likelihood of future new hotel investments."