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Belize tourism arrivals up 110%

With visitors from the United States, Europe and Canada, Belize is enjoying tremendous tourist arrivals with both cruise ship passengers as well as traditional arrivals by air, according to the Belize Tourism Board.

Photo: travelmarketreport.com

 Over the last 10 years, Belize has seen the rewards of its push to become a recognized tourist destination.  From 232,249 visitors in 2009 to 489,261 visitors in 2018, the majority of arrivals occur in the January to June period. The Belize Tourist Board reports that, in regard to cruise ship passengers this year, Belize welcomed 697,767 visitors which is a 10.8% increase compared to the first half of 2018.  Over 66% of Belize visitors arrived from the US, while 11.8% arrived from Europe and nearly 8% arrived from Canada.

A tour operator in Belize. (Photo: Belize Tourist Board)

The local tourism authority says that tourists choose Belize because, “Its official language is English, it borders Mexico, and is only a 2-hour flight from major U.S. cities. It also helps that US Dollars are accepted everywhere.  Belize is one of the few safe, tropical destinations that has preserved its gorgeous environment, unique wildlife, and exotic culture.”  Further, “The increase of over 62,000 visitors in 2018 may be attributed to many factors, such as securing seasonal direct flights from Canada, with the objective being to secure flights from Europe to Belize as well, the former being an increasingly targeted market for the country of Belize. South America has also been placed on the board in talks of being regarded as a potential main market, with strategies set in place to expand Belize’s reach in that region. As low-cost air carriers become more accessible, visitors to Belize are increasingly younger, between the ages of 25 – 34. This points to Belize being more marketable to younger, adventurous travelers. For Caribbean overnight visitors, most of them are business travelers and, as always, surveys show the US is responsible for the majority of tourist arrivals in 2018, with Europe being a close second and Canada coming in third.”

Photo: Belize Tourism Board

Additionally, it is reported by the local tourism agency that, “Compared to other Caribbean destinations, Belize had more overnight visitors than the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarten, and Trinidad & Tobago during the same period.   Belize is also seeing an increase in younger visitors between the ages of 25-34, thanks to low-cost air carriers becoming more accessible from the U.S., Canada, and European markets. This points to Belize’s appeal and marketability to younger, adventure-seeking travelers who place a high value on sustainable tourism.”

One of numerous tours available in Belize. (Photo: Belize Tourism Board)

Realtors at Orchid Bay development in Belize note that, “increased tourism directly related to Belize’s real estate boom.  Orchid Bay, a luxurious development located in Northern Belize on the Bay of Chetumal, as well as other areas, such as San Pedro and Placencia, are experiencing a surge in real estate sales. This shows that Belize’s appeal to visitors is spilling over to investors, retirees, and vacation homeowners, who want to buy in early and own real estate in this fast-growing tourist destination.   This sales boom is thanks to Belize’s rise in tourism and the many benefits that the country offers homebuyers. These real estate incentives include low property taxes, no estate or capital gains taxes, 100% foreign ownership, and the country’s Qualified Retirement Program.”