The BTB says that 2016 was the best year ever for tourism; it recorded the highest number of tourist arrivals in 20 years.

The numbers show a total of 385,583 overnight arrivals, a 13% increase from 2015 translating into 45 thousand more visitors. As we reported, there was one month that showed a decline, which was 1.3% in November, and December showed a slowdown in the overall growth trend with an only 1.5% increase in arrivals.

So while the year ended on an iffy note, overnight arrivals were up sharply in the first 10 months of the year, going up as much as 27% in September.

Cruise tourism also showed growth with a 4.9% increase in arrivals in 2016. And another record was broken because for the first time cruise passenger arrivals exceeded one million visitors. Of course, tour operators on the ground say the industry is faring worse than ever for locals, but the BTB boasts that the month of October showed a 38% increase in cruise arrivals.

The Highest Overnight Arrivals in 20 Years
The year 2016 culminated with another significant achievement for the tourism industry, boasting the highest overnight arrivals in twenty years. 2016 has proven to be the most successful year for Belize’s overnight tourism sector.

With an overall increase of 13% in comparison to 2015, this translates to 44,422 additional visitors enjoying the beauty of our Jewel; the largest increase reflected in the past 20 years. As depicted in the graph below, the growth in the industry continues.

Cruise Passenger Arrivals exceeded 1 million for the first time
Cruise tourism also reflected growth with a 4.9% increase in arrivals in comparison to 2015. Another record was broken as this sector for the first time saw cruise passenger arrivals exceeding one million visitors. The launch of Harvest Caye in November 2016 contributed to the boost in cruise passenger arrivals, particularly in the last quarter.

These successes are credited to the vigorous marketing, product development and expansion efforts of the Stakeholders in the industry and, with similar efforts and collaboration continuing into 2017, it is expected to see these increasing trends continue.