During the first five months of 2022, one hundred and fifty thousand tourists have entered Belize via the international airport; about twenty thousand through our two main land border crossings in the north and west and two hundred and eighty thousand cruise ship visitors. Those are the official figures for the tourism industry that has been rebounding from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, as News Five sat down with Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations Anthony Mahler, we found out that hotel revenues back in March were the highest in the history of the industry and in the first five months of 2022, revenues collected have surpassed one hundred and eighty million dollars. At this rate, Mahler says that by the end of the year, tourism numbers should be back to 2019 levels.

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations

"They are still not quite back, but we are on the road to getting back to 2019 levels. Remember January and February and March we were still in this omicron phase and it was spreading like wildfire and so that tapered some of the growth that we believe that we could have experienced for the first half. Also we have a lot of labor issues, we have a lot of equipment issues and so there are so many dynamics at play. But I think we have done well. We are outpacing the rest of the region; they are back to about fifty or sixty percent, we are closer to seventy-two percent and I believe by the end of the year we should be closer to where we were 2019 - both cruise and overnight. Between the international airport and the two main borders, we are at about a hundred and seventy thousand in arrivals for the first five months of this year and we believe that as we continue our marketing campaigns and our strategic focus on certain markets that those numbers will increase as well. We are not seeing the slow down as we used to for the slower part of the season, but we will continue to focus on those specific markets to ensure that we have heads in beds, as you say."

Channel 5