Tourism Industry continues to Flourish Print E-mail
( 2 Votes )
Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 02 May 2013 00:00

L-R - Hon. Manuel Heredia, C.E.O Tracy Taegar-Panton, BTB Director Laura Esquivel-Frampton and Board Chairman, Ian Lizarraga Tourism industry stakeholders are pleasantly surprised at the number of overnight tourist arrivals for the first three months of 2013. In 2012, Belize saw record numbers in overnight tourist arrivals with a 10.2% increase over the previous year. During this same time, there was a 2.7 percent increase in tourist arrivals globally, which means that Belize outperformed the rest of the world. Experts projected a more modest performance in 2013 as they are expecting a growth in overnight arrivals of 4.5%. However, statistics released by the Belize Tourism Board shows that there was a 13% increase in overnight tourist arrivals for the first three months of this year.

According to BTB’s statistics, the months of January, February and March recorded increases of 17.2%, 11.6% and 11% respectively. There were 24,263 overnight tourists in January 2012 and 28,431 this year. There were 25,778 overnight tourists in February 2012, 28,765 this year. In March 2012, there were 32,240 overnight tourists. In March 2013, overnight visitors exceeded 35,000 for the first time ever with 35,795.

Cruise tourism has rebounded significantly. There was a 10.9% increase in cruise arrivals over the first three months of this year. Last year in January Belize recorded 86,128 cruise tourist arrivals. This year that number was 102,871, an increase of 19.4%. In February, 2012 there were 70,711 cruise tourist arrivals. This year, there were 78,766, an increase of 11.4%. In March there was only a 1.4% increase in arrivals with 82,416 cruise tourists as compared to 81,315 in 2012.

There was also a record high in arrivals by air in January, February and March of 2013 with a 8.1% increase for those three months in comparison to last year’s record. In 2012, there were 18,558 tourist arrivals at the Phillip Goldson International Airport in January, 20,450 in February and 25,982 in March. This year, there were 19,965 in January, 21,676 in February and 28,623 in March, which represent a 7.58%, 6.0% and 10.1% increase respectively, compared to 2012. This year’s month of March was the first time in history that arrivals by air exceeded 28,000.

According to the Belize Tourism Board, the last time there was a decrease in any month for tourist arrivals was October 2011. Prime Minister Barrow extends his congratulations to the Ministry of Tourism, Belize Tourism Board and stakeholders in the industry.