Features — 15 December 2015 — by Johnelle McKenzie
Copa Airlines is the new game-changer for Belize, says Tourism Minister

LADYVILLE, Belize District, Tues. Dec. 8, 2015–Copa Airlines, flight 281, which originated from Panama City, touched down today for the first time in Belize, at the Philip Goldson International Airport. Copa Airlines is the national airline of Panama, and was founded in 1947.

Online sources indicate that Copa Airlines is considered to be one of the most profitable airlines, with rapid growth throughout the Americas.

At the inauguration ceremony which commenced at approximately 1:15 p.m., the Minister of Tourism and Aviation, Manuel Heredia, Jr; Karen Bevans, Director of Tourism; Jorge Espat, Managing Director of the Airport Concession Company; Ambassador of Panama, Marta Irene Boza; and Adolfo Sen, Director of Sales for Copa Airlines, invited guests and waiting passengers were on hand to welcome this new carrier.

Hon. Heredia, in his address, said that this can “undoubtedly be a game changer for both parties.” Heredia continued by saying that for years their strongest market has been North America, but the government realized the need to diversify, with tourism being our number one industry.

Heredia added that Belize and Panama are committed to building this new partnership, which can result in increased trade and travel for both countries.

According to Sen, many other destinations await Belizean travelers through the Belize-Panama connection; they can further make as many as 74 other connections to 31 countries in North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Sen further said that Copa is scheduled to fly twice a week from Belize, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Espat said, “The number of passengers at the PGIA has increased by 34,339, or 6.5% growth, and in November alone there is an unprecedented increase of 14,455, or 37% increase.”

Bevans told Amandala that they are excited about tapping into this new market and today’s achievement is proof that Belize is expanding its reach across the globe and is no longer limited to the North American market.

Heredia said that with this new market opening up, they have already begun to market Belize’s tourism product both off-line and on-line, in countries such as Panama, Costa Rica, Columbia, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina, which are destinations of Copa Airlines.

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