Belize Tourism – A look at cost competitiveness
By Richard Harrison
In 2012, Belize recorded 277,135 overnight tourist visitors….and 640,734 cruise visitors. Total 917,869 visitors, with hotel occupancy below 40%.
The Riviera Maya, which spreads from Cancun south to Majahual….a coastline distance of 200 miles….is comparable to the coastline distance between Corozal and Punta Gorda. They registered total 17 million visitors in 2012, with hotel occupancy above 80%.
Belize has a lot more to offer in terms of coral reefs, islands with sandy beaches, and natural beauty….both marine and inland….yet it lags behind. Why?
Tourism is an industry that is driven by investment climate…infrastructure….accessibility….services quality, quantity and variety….things to do…people to see….place to go.
To a large extent….it is also driven by cost competitiveness….how much does it cost to get from a home in the USA or Canada, to the Riviera Maya? How much does a week vacation cost in the Riviera Maya…compared to similar quality vacation in Belize?
Lowering the pump-price of fuel to around BZ$7/gallon (i.e. the same price as in the Riviera Maya) will do wonders to make Belize production of goods and services be more competitive with the Riviera Maya….however, to do this, the GST has to compensate for loss in revenue from imported petroleum….a lower 10% GST, charged across the board, no exceptions nor exemptions…..will make this happen. Everyone will benefit.
Fuel is one of the most important contributors to cost….of anything….and lowering its price….will lower the cost of producing ALL goods and services.
Being more competitive….Belize will create many more jobs….not only in tourism….but in all sectors of the economy…..our communities will be more productive….and much safer….all contributing to an enhanced tourism product.“To want your cake and eat it too” is a thought of greed…there is a better way.
This article was written by Richard Harrison, a local businessman and investor in the manufacturing and service industries. Mr. Harrison holds a Masters in Business Administration degree from Lancaster University, United Kingdom. The Belize Times