Tourists arrivals up for 10th straight month
The "slow" season for Belizean tourism has been
anything but, as July airport arrivals show a twenty
percent increase over last year. Ten thousand, nine
hundred and thirty-eight tourists arrived at the PGIA in
July compared to nine thousand, one hundred and
thirteen in July of 1999. According to the Belize
Tourism Board, it is the tenth consecutive month of
double-digit growth. Cumulative figures for 2000 show
an impressive 27.2 percent increase over last year.
Mike Panton, Vice President of the Belize Tourism
Industry Association, attributes the good news to a
number of successful marketing strategies.
Mike Panton, V.P, BTIA
"Well, I can put it to the fact that there was some serious
marketing that's being done through the Ministry of Tourism
in consultation with us since February of this year. According
to the marketing agents, they have seen some increase in
interests from writers, agents and all different parts of the
"Do you believe that the entire country is feeling the
effect or only certain places?"
Mike Panton, V.P, BTIA
"Well I can tell you that members from all different parts of
the country are quite excited about it and are preparing for
the increase when it comes on. We are also working on a
programme for training and getting our workers and our
members all set to deal with the increase."
"Mister Panton, do you believe that the increase is
sustainable and that it will continue?"
"I believe it is sustainable and it all depends on the fact that
when these people get here, we will have to make sure that
the product is to the level that they would expect in coming
to a country like Belize. We are working very hard to make
sure that we can deliver quality service to these people
when they get here."
"One of the big improvements we think we need is in the
quality of personnel that we have working in our industry.
They need to understand that there is a big difference in
being a servant as oppose to delivering a service. In
delivering a service, one can do that with all the pride that's
necessary. Also the fact is that when these people come
here, they come to enjoy our customs, our culture and we
can incite them to enjoy this with quite a bit of pride."
BTB says cruise tourism has also increased by a
whopping four hundred percent during the past two
years. Government, through a loan from the
Inter-American Development Bank, is undertaking a
twenty-eight million Belize dollar Tourism Development
Project. The work will include the upgrading of major
Mayan sites. A two million dollar tourism training
programme is also scheduled and there are plans to
extend the runway at the PGIA. The private sector is
keeping pace with investments as there are some two
hundred and fifty new hotel rooms under construction
and a major five hundred room hotel development will
soon get underway in North Ambergris Caye. BTB says
projections for both the overnight tourist category and
cruise tourism are strong for the remainder of the year
and into 2001. www.InvestInBelize.com