Monday, January 14, 2002, Belize City, Belize Based on statistics from the Immigration Department, the Belize Tourism Board announces that total overnight tourist arrivals at the Phillip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) for the twelve months of 2001 totaled 133,774. This figure, compared with a total of 131,634 for the year 2000 represents a 1.6% increase. The 2001 total also represent the highest number of overnight tourist arrivals ever recorded at the PGIA.
During the month of December 2001, tourist arrivals fell by 7.7% from 12,533 in 2000 to 11,568 in 2001. While disappointing in itself, the December level of decline was significantly below the 12% average decline in travel reported by the American Society of Travel Agents for the U.S. travel market. The U.S. market represents some 80% of tourist arrivals to Belize.
Since the terrorist attacks in September 2001 in Washington and New York and the subsequent decline in international travel, the overnight tourist arrivals have fallen in each of the four months from September to December 2001. Belize’s tourism industry was additionally impacted by the significant destruction caused by Hurricane Iris to the Placencia Peninsula where some five hundred (500) hotel rooms are located.
Overnight tourist arrivals at the PGIA have increased in each of the last three years, rising by 6% in 1999, 14.3% in 2000 and 1.6% in 2001. During the thirty-six month period of January 1999 to December 2001, PGIA arrivals have set new records in twenty-four (24) of these thirty-six (36) months.