Statistics for the last three
months show that despite the
negative effects of the September
eleventh bombings and Hurricane
Iris, the Belizean tourism industry
has held its own and should
continue to grow during 2002.
Numbers released by the Belize
Tourism Board show that while September arrivals at
the Philip Goldson International Airport dropped by
twenty-two percent from last year, they actually rose
almost eighteen percent during October. That figure is
deceiving, however, because October 2000 was the
month of Hurricane Keith, which reduced tourism at
San Pedro to almost zero. But a look at November
shows that arrivals are on a par with 2000 and only
slightly below the record month in 1999. Early reports
indicate that December airport arrivals should reach at
least 2000 levels and the year, despite the recent
setbacks, should end as the best on record.
Commenting on the figures, Director of Tourism Tracy
Taegar told News 5, "I think it's amazing when you
look at the decline for other destinations, that we've
done as well as we have." She attributes the
industry's performance not to any increased
expenditure, but to a "relationship marketing"
programme, in which the BTB staff and private sector
operators have kept in constant touch with those
abroad selling the country and keeping them informed
of the advantages of travelling to Belize. Taegar
added, however, that tourism is not yet out of the
woods as a shortage of international airlift capacity
and high airfares threaten to restrict the growth of the
industry.