The Belize Hotel Association (BHA) has reported that there has been a decrease in tourist visits, including overnight stays and occupancy within the past 4 months. According to BHA, the month of September has been the worst out of the four with a 7.8 decrease in tourist arrivals into the country as compared to last year. They stated that there can be multiple reasons for the decline in tourism. President of the BHA, Ted Tejada, explained to us the reasons behind the low numbers.
Ted Tejada, President of the Belize Hotel Association: “As you can see on the numbers June we had a negative 0.5 and you might say ‘but why, we were doing pretty good from January to June, what happened ?’ If you guys remember there was an accident in San Pedro and one of our tourists was killed, it had an immediate effect. Immediately people started cancelling. Expedia comments that there was as 27% cancellation on their platform. The normality of Belize is 14%, why because immediately there is an accident the United States raises the flag ‘be careful where you’re travelling. Be careful of Belize.’ and that is what happened. We did no recover in July. In August there was a small recovery, in September we see the biggest loss -7.8, As you guys remember in September the Government of Belize decided to coincide and close the border for the buses that are transiting between Mexico and Belize and Guatemala to Belize. We are not claiming that that is the solem reason why there is a decrease, the numbers show that we lost the largest amount of tourists in the month of September.”
Tejada noted that these numbers are worrying for the Association and the economy.
Ted Tejada, President of the Belize Hotel Association: “For the last four months; June, July, August and September, we have had a decrease of night stays even though in August we had an increase of arrivals, these people are staying less nights than they usually stay in Belize. And this is a very worrying point for all of us. If the tourists have declined in coming to Belize not only have they declined why are they staying less in the country of Belize, that is something that we have to figure out. As you know, where do the Europeans come from ? They normally come through the Western border, they come through Guatemala into Belize, they come for fourteen days into Guatemala they stay ten, they stay two in Belize and two into Mexico. And so this is why it is important for us to look at all the avenues, how are the tourists coming to Belize and what do we need to do in order to help them.”
They stated that other issues such as sargassum, transportation and political disputes in other countries contribute to the low numbers.