Another record year for tourist arrivals

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 4            February 6, 2003

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Press Release - Belize Tourism Board - Immigration records indicate that a total of 199,521 tourists arrived in Belize through the airport and land borders during the year 2002, representing a 1.8% increase in overnight tourist arrivals, compared to 2001 (this figure does not include cruise passengers).2002 saw the highest number of overnight visitors in Belize's history.      

    The months of October, November and December 2002 showed significant increases, compared to the previous months, following September 2001, indicating a restored level of confidence in the travel market.

    The figure for total overnight arrivals in 1998 was a mere 176, 054.Four years later, after three major hurricanes and an overall decline in international travel after 9/11, Belize's tourism arrivals have grown a significant 13.3%. There was also a 4.5% growth in the hotel sector in 2002, taking the total number of hotels in the country to 437, a total of 4,705 rooms.  

   "When coupled with the significant increases in cruise passenger arrivals, an over 500% growth, 2002 was Belize's best year yet for tourism," comments Tracy Taegar, Director of Tourism. "As an industry, we are quite proud of these accomplishments, and look forward to continue working together, as we redefine a path for Belize."    

    Total cruise passenger arrivals for 2002 was 319,690 representing a 564.4% increase over the previous year.

  Relationships continue to strengthen between private and public sectors, ensuring a cohesive, unified approach to tourism in the future, giving Belize an edge over competing destinations.    

    For more information about Belize's tourism industry, please contact the Marketing Department at the Belize Tourism Board at 223-1913 or 223-1010, e-mail:, or visit our website at
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