It's the one industry in Belize that is never short of statistics--at least when business is good. This week as a supplement to its regular release on monthly visitor arrivals, the Belize Tourism Board has published its annual collection of facts and figures. And while the sixty-two page booklet may not be everyone's favourite bedtime reading, the information is both well presented and interesting. To prove it, we've put together a little quiz based on the statistics contained in the book, all of which are for the year 2003.
Question 1: How many visitors, not counting those on cruise ships, came to Belize last year?
The answer: two hundred and two thousand, five hundred and seventy-four.
Question 2: What percentage of those visitors entered Belize through the Philip Goldson International Airport?
The answer: sixty-eight point nine percent.
Question 3: What country is our largest source of tourists and what percentage of the total does that group contribute?
The answer: The United States of America, providing seventy-five point seven percent of our total visitors, or roughly three out of every four. Just for the record, the other major providers of visitors are Guatemala, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Mexico.
Question 4: Which month sees the most visitors entering Belize and which month has the fewest?
The answer: March is the peak of the tourist season, while September is the slowest.
Question 5: How many registered hotels are there in Belize?
The answer: four hundred sixty-six. Ambergris Caye boasts the greatest number of hotel rooms, followed by the Belize District, Cayo, and Placencia.
And for question six...what is the average occupancy rate?
The answer: forty-one percent. Other statistics on the hotel sector are that 2003 room revenues totalled seventy-eight point nine million dollars and hotels directly employed three thousand four hundred and forty-seven people. In addition, for the first time, the number of licensed tour guides exceeded one thousand.
And finally, looking at the places that both overnight and cruise tourists visit, what is the single most popular attraction in Belize?
The answer: the ancient Maya site of Altun Ha tops the list with ninety-six thousand, eight hundred and sixty-one visitors. Hol Chan Marine Reserve comes in second, followed by Caves Branch, and Xunantunich.
There is a whole lot more information in the book which is particularly valuable for those involved in the tourism industry. It is available free of charge from the B.T.B. at the Central Bank building.