BTB Says Tourism Arrivals Up
Many Belizeans are heading across the border this extended holiday weekend, but the number of visitors to the jewel is on an upward trend. The Belize Tourism Board called a press conference this afternoon to report that going into the high season, arrivals in overnight and cruise visitors were up in the third quarter of this year. News Five Isani Cayetano has the latest numbers from the BTB.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
The beginning of the high season is still a few weeks ahead but the number of arrivals for both cruise and overnight tourists are up considerably. By and large, the third quarter is often the slowest period for the influx of visitors to Belize; however, there are increases being recorded in both sectors. Overnight arrivals have seen a total of forty-five thousand visitors disembark at the Phillip Goldson International Airport between July and September, while a hundred and sixty-seven thousand, six hundred and forty-eight cruises passengers have come ashore during the same period this year.
Alyssa Carnegie, Director of Marketing & Industry Relations, BTB
“The arrivals for both overnight and cruise are doing really well for not only this month but for this quarter. We’ve been up, I believe, it is 12.1% this September over last September and I think we’ve done for cruise 19.1% increase this September over last September. So that’s a tremendous indication to us of how well the country is doing, how interested people are. For cruise it’s really great because we normally see, we have a schedule of calls that are made every year, so while the calls haven’t increased what we are seeing is that more and more people are getting off the ships so that’s a very good sign that they are interested to experience Belize and that they are engaging and interacting and liking that experience.”
The increase in visitor experience in Belize is among the highest regionally, and according to Director of Marketing and Industry Relations Alyssa Carnegie, it will only improve as efforts are continuously being made to enhance the quality of Belize’s tourism product.
“A lot of our industry partners have been telling us that even though it’s a slow season and they may have had to close and maybe hold back a little bit for renovations or whatever they’re doing, it’s one of the best slow seasons they’ve had. So now we’re heading into the high season and we’re really excited about that because, as you know, Belize has never crossed that threshold of three hundred thousand overnight visitors and we’re really working hard to exceed that mark and we are very confident that we would be able to do that this calendar year in December. So we expect it to build and to build to a number that we’ve not seen before in Belize and we’re very, very excited about that. I think all Belizeans should be happy about that.”
And, that increase in arrivals should translate to economic activity among stakeholders in the industry. For the average tour guide or vendor, more tourists quite often means more business.
“We’re still trying to work on the number of, the amount of money that they actually spend per day, each tourist from cruise. That’s different from what an overnight tourist would spend. I’m not sure exactly as to the average a cruise [tourist] spends per day but I think it’s about maybe, I would say, seventy-five U.S. dollars. So that’s really tremendous for us, just to put that into context. The Dominican Republic, their overnight tourists pay seventy U.S. per night, we’re getting that from our tourists so they’re always asking us how do we do it? In terms of the trickle down, I definitely, from what we’re witnessing it is impacting people. We’ve realized the need to help to diversify the product a little bit more to make a lot more of the Belize experience accessible. So it’s not just the similar, not just the same sites that are getting, you know, explored or utilized. That we see some of that carry over and spill over to other sites throughout the country so the impact economically and the experience for the visitor as well is
heightened and improved.”
Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.