The first half tourism figures are in, and Belize’s phenomenal tourism growth is showing no signs of slowing down.
No, you’re not reading last year’s post.
Or the year’s before.
Or the year’s before that.
Or…you get the point.
And you’d be forgiven for thinking that some lazy writer is recycling news and cutting-and-pasting old posts – it’s just that when it comes to the growth of tourism in Belize, The Song, to quote those old English rockers, Remains The Same.
Yes, the first half 2019 tourism figures have been compiled, scrutinised and presented by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), and “the little country that could” has done it again.
And even better? Belize continues to do it its own way – succeeding by respecting and supporting the environment and people who make the little country such a great destination to visit in the first place.
And the world has taken notice, with headlines like:
“Belize Keeps Up Strong Tourism growth” – Caribbean Journal
“Belize: Remarkable Tourism Growth” – eTurbo News
“Belize Continues Growth Trend in Early 2019” – Travel Pulse
appearing throughout global travel media.
What’s all the excitement about? Let’s have a look:
- The BTB reported a 6% jump in stayover tourist arrivals for the first half of 2019
- Over a quarter of a million happy travellers -a total of 284,576 – stayed in Belize from January to June 2019
- There was a 10.8 % increase in cruise ship tourist visits compared to last year
- That’s some 700,000 passengers coming ashore in just six months
The global tourism industry is notoriously fickle, volatile and unpredictable, yet Belize bucks the trends with steady year-to-year growth. Or, to quote the BTB:
“The latest statistics for the first half of this year show a remarkable and persistent growth in both overnight and cruise ship arrivals.”
These figures make Belize one the decade’s fastest growing Caribbean destinations. Land-based visitor arrivals more than doubled from 232,249 in 2009 to 489,261 in 2018.
And this in a developing nation – the youngest in the Americas – that has banned oil drilling and commercial fish trawling anywhere near its majestic barrier reef, placed a moratorium on single use plastic bags, utensils and Styrofoam food containers, has something like a quarter of its land and territorial waters under some form of protection, safeguards an amazing array of ancient Maya temples, ceremonial caves, cities and other archaeological wonders, and acts as a model for sustainable tourism for the rest of the world.
For example, take The Lodge at Chaa Creek, which contributes a whopping ten percent of all room revenue directly into environmental and community programs. It also maintains a pristine, 400-acre nature reserve, sponsors the annual Eco-Kids educational summer camp, as well as academic scholarships and career development programs. Chaa Creek also promotes cultural tourism, supports local villages, and brings visitors and Belizeans closer together with initiatives like the Pack-a-Pound program that helps tourists donate school supplies to needy primary school students.
The list goes on, and that’s just the contributions of one Belizean resort.
As we said earlier – attracting steady tourism growth year after year is an accomplishment that makes the world take notice. But doing it in such a way that benefits the environment and people is a truly remarkable achievement that gives the world hope for the future.
And we think that’s something every Belizean can be proud of.
Step into the light and take a bow, Belize – you’re doing something very special indeed.