Tourism in Belize Rebounding
---Belize City, Monday, April 16th, 2001 --- The global tourism industry has witnessed many changes as a direct result of 9/11. Attendance to international travel and tourism trade shows has dropped slightly and arrivals in tourism-strong countries such as Martinique and Barbados have recorded notable decreases for 2001 of 12.5% and 6.9% respectively. The economies of the larger tourism-generating countries, such as the U.S. and Germany continue to lag, negatively affecting potential travelers from these regions.
The Immigration Department reports an increase of 0.8% in tourist arrivals at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) for the month of March, over last year. A total of 16,347 visitors arrived at the PGIA, the port of entry for approximately 80% of Belize’s total tourist arrivals. Despite September 11th and Hurricane Iris, Belize’s total tourist arrivals for 2001 was on par with 2000, which was a record breaking year for tourism arrivals ever. March’s increase of 0.8% is encouraging as January and February recorded slight decreases. These results are consistent with the forecast of the Travel Industry Association of America and the World Tourism Organization which expect travel to increase by mid 2002.
Cruise tourism has also been outperforming last year. The cruise sector recorded a total of 59,466 passengers during the first quarter of 2002. This represents an increase of 184.7% compared to the same period last year. In addition, this represents an increase of 23.6% compared to the total cruise ship passengers for 2001, when 48,116 passengers arrived. For the first time in Belize’s tourism industry, the cruise ship sector is no longer seasonal. Cruise ships are docking at Belize’s port year round with 164 more scheduled to dock for the remainder of the year.
In another significant development, American Airlines has announced its decision to add another Boeing 737 from Miami to Belize during the summer months. The flight will leave Miami later than usual, arriving in Belize at approximately 5:10 p.m and departing Belize to Miami early in the morning at about 7:00 a.m. For the first time, Europeans traveling to Belize will have a same day connection as well as a return to Europe same-day connection from Miami.
“This new flight by American will open exciting new markets in Europe for Belizean tourism, where we have invested much time and resources over the past decade,” comments Tourism Minister, Mark Espat.
Marketing and Public Relations efforts by both the public and private sectors continue. The Belize Tourism Board together with stakeholders in the tourism industry attended the recent travel and tourism trade shows in Merida (Ki-huic), in Berlin, Germany (ITB), in Miami (Sea Trade) and in Guatemala City (Trex). These trade shows give Belize an opportunity to meet with key people in the international tourism industry who are interested in doing business in Belize with service providers such as hoteliers, tour operators, cruise operators and others.
Belize Tourism Board