Airlift to Belize from North American cities continues to expand, and now you can add Calgary, Canada to the list of cities with direct flights to Belize.

Now, it's not Houston, or Miami, or even Toronto, but the fast growing city in Canada's midwest has an eager market of visitors seeking the adventure tourism that Belize offers.

The inaugural flight touched down this afternoon, and the tourism head honchos told us what this flight means for Belizeans and the tourism industry:

Karen Bevans, Director of Tourism
"Now this is Calgary. That will help with the different areas such as Vancouver and um the others that were unable to get a direct connection into Toronto so this makes it much more convenient for a large market in Canada and to open up the opportunities for Belize even more."

"Canada is our third largest source market for arrivals in Belize. We expect that, that the size of the Canadian market will only continue to increase and hopefully we can expect at least 10% of our arrivals with the addition of this flight."

"As we heard the honorary council mention more and more students are now approaching him about the Canadian market or schools in Canada and that population has grown and we expect that to happen even more because this gives more accessibility, cheaper cost, so it does create more opportunity for our Belizean people."

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. - Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation
"We have to market Belize good. We have to partner with airlines in order for more tourists to come to Belize. It is not an easy thing you have to lobby a lot with the airlines. It takes a while. With WestJet, I believe it was a few years before we actually had them."

"The Belize Market nonetheless is an exceptional market so that is why you see that as we are more known in the world people will be coming to Belize."

The flight operates once per week and is seasonal, meaning from November to April.

Today's maiden voyage had a total of 123 passengers on board. Westjet also operates a direct flight from Toronto to Belize City. That one is also seasonal, but has now expanded to three flights weekly based on strong demand.

Channel 7