Over the past few years, Belize’s tourism industry has grown immensely! As a Caribbean/Central American country, visitors enjoy coming here for the amazing weather, scenery and various adventure activities. This little country has become a top destination for adventure travelers, eco-travelers, families, retirees, and newlyweds. All this over the span of about 15 years, but how did this industry get to where it is now?
Before Belize gained independence in 1981, the tourism sector wasn’t very active due to a lack of buildings and accommodations that would be able to cater to many tourists. However, locals did begin to benefit from tourism through local and commercial sectors since the 1970s. The government began to realize that building the tourism industry was a necessity for the economy, and therefore established the Belize Tourism Board in 1990.
Did you know?
The tourism industry accounts for approximately 37.1% of the employment rate (61,500 jobs). These jobs include taxis, water taxis, car rentals, tour guides, farmers, fishermen, craftsmen/women, gift shop owners, hair braiders, hotel owners and much more.
There are many investment and trade opportunities in this sector, due to the increasing eco/adventure travelers – by developing nature trails, conservation centers, wildlife sanctuaries and more.
Overnight tourists and cruise passengers account for the increase in this industry. Since 2015 a number of entries into Belize had opened allowing this increase – Southwest Airlines, West Jet, COPA, AeroMexico, Air Canada, and Norwegian Cruise Lines.
As of January to June 2019, overnight arrivals by Americans make up most of this market (67.89%), followed by Europeans (11.19%), and Canadians (8.34%). In 2018 these arrivals increased by 62,000 visitors and continue to increase due to direct flights from Canada and securing flights from Europe as well. The purposes of most of these visits are vacation purposes (83.14%), followed by wedding/honeymoons (4.25%).
The destination in Belize stayed by most visitors for this year is Ambergris Caye (42.7%), followed by Caye Caulker (20.5%), then Belize City (17.6%), and lastly Placencia (13.9%).
Future of Tourism
There has been a large increase in resorts all over Belize and it continues to rise, lately opened is Mahogany Bay Village which is a product of Hilton hotels. As well as the Marriott, Wyndham, Alaia, and Four Season are planning projects in Belize.
Businesses, hotels/resorts, and locals are now adopting sustainability practices. By 2020 we hope to fully implement the disuse of plastics; as a result, Moho Caye is set to be plastic-free by then.
Written by Reyann Garcia