According to Belize Tourism figures, 2014 was “A Very Good Year!”
“It Was a Very Good Year…” That Frank Sinatra classic makes a perfect theme song for Belizean tourism.
The data is in and, as expected, 2014 was as record breaking year for Belize, with 1,207,386 tourist arrivals recorded by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB).
Last year also saw Belize break the long sought after but heretofore elusive figure of 300,000 overnight visitors, a tourism goal akin to a runner breaking the four minute mile, with the BTB figures showing a record 321,220 overnight visitors. This represents a very impressive 9.2 percent increase from the year before.
And, with new flights from a growing number of destinations continually being added to the travel roster, the future continues to look bright for “the little country that could”.
Who would have thought, back in 1981 when Belize became the world’s newest independent nation and began making the switch from farming to tourism as the main economic activity that the country would come so far so quickly?
1981 was also the year that The Lodge at Chaa Creek made the switch from family farm to family run eco-resort, embarking on an evolution that parallels Belize’s.
Back then, most people around the world had no idea where Belize was, let alone how much it had to offer. And Chaa Creek, with a couple of one-room thatched roofed cottages and the owners acting as hosts, cooks, bartenders, tour guides and filling pretty much every other job description, was depending on great word of mouth and a few posters strategically placed around the country to attract guests.
How things have changed.
Twenty years ago, when tourist arrivals peaked at 314,875, people were amazed. And while Chaa Creek had recently established the Blue Morpho butterfly farm and Natural History Centre, electric lights and fans in the rooms were still a couple of years away.
Now, with the number of arrivals to Belize having almost quadrupled from the 1995 figures, and The Lodge at Chaa Creek offering a range of amenities and activities undreamed of back in those early days, Belize is well and truly on the map as one of the world’s most sought after travel destinations.
Remember when the Belize Tourism Board used the tagline, “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret?”
Now it’s more like “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Paradise”, with more and more people coming to take advantage of vast unspoiled rainforests filled with exotic birds and wildlife, a wealth of ancient Maya temples and archaeological sites, uncrowded white sand Caribbean beaches, the world’s second largest barrier reef and so much more.
And, with more flights from more destinations, better infrastructure, an increasingly sophisticated food culture emphasising fresh ingredients, world class spas, a wealth of activities and tours, discovering what makes Belize such a tourist mecca has become easier than ever.
As for Chaa Creek, check out their newly launched website and see for yourself how much things have changed.
The journey continues… and you’re invited!