The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has released tourism statistics for the first quarter of 2015, which show that overnight arrivals remained steady, while cruise arrivals grew significantly over the same period in 2014.
Overnight Arrivals Jan-March 2014 vs. 2015
Cruise Arrivals Jan-March 2014 vs. 2015
Cruise arrivals in 2015 have seen major increases in January and March, with 16.6% and 15.8% increase, respectively. February 2015 saw a slight decrease of 2.7% which resulted from the cancellation of two ships due to adverse weather conditions that made it impossible for tendering to take place.
Tourism Minister comments on arrival figures
After a dizzily rising of tourism figures over the last few years, there has been a noticeable trend in the number of cruise and overnight tourism arrivals. According to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), overnight arrivals have remained steady and one of the main factors was flight cancellations due to the weather conditions in both Canada and the U.S.A. Overnight tourist arrivals rose slightly in March by one percent from February. But all three months showed decreases compared to the same period in 2014. It is a matter that concerns Minister of Tourism and Culture Manuel Heredia Jr, but not overly so. He discussed it after yesterday’s Prime Ministerial press conference.
Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. - Minister of Tourism and Culture
“When we were looking at the figures, they have been slightly down, two or three months they have been slightly down. I was speaking to the stakeholders; to the hotel airs and so, particularly in my constituency which is 50% or the entire tourism destination. They are telling me that last year was much better than they had expected – that the airlines expected, that the hotel airs expected. When that usually happens, it has a trend that it will slightly go down but everyone believes that the season is still good enough. “
“However, you have to look at the other side as well. We have increased the number of seats available into Belize and moreover, we also have cheaper airfare because of gas prices. I agree that after a big year, you will rebound and seem to be a contraction but at the same time, there are more opportunities to reach Belize cheaper.”
Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr.
“Definitely I agree. I wouldn’t say cheaper because airlines as far as I know haven’t gone down. They have increased the seats and so but have not. Probably, I believe that in October when South West comes to Belize, there might be the competition of having the airfare cheaper and indeed that will be a contributor for more tourism coming to Belize.”
Heredia expects 2015 to be a bit of a down year according to the BTB’s projections