General — 14 July 2018
In the midst of gloom, tourism shines

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 12, 2018– In the Wed. June 27, 2018 Amandala, Courtney Menzies reported on a release by the Belize Institute of Statistics which showed the dismal state of Belize’s agriculture sector. Statistics showed that the sector declined by 11.9% in the first quarter of 2018, when compared with the same period in 2017, with citrus production down 19.3%, banana showing a loss of 5,000 tons, marine production down 44%, largely because of struggles in the shrimp industry,  and sugar revenue diminished by lowered prices on the world market.

But in the midst of these lowered exports, the tourism industry continues to flourish. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), in a press release dated Wednesday, July 11, 2018, reported that the latest statistics for the middle of 2018 showed that “tourism arrivals to Belize continue to register groundbreaking levels and moving on a steady upward trend.” The release said that overnight tourism arrivals in June have “registered double digit increases for the past three consecutive years” and that the first half of this year “registered a 17.1% cumulative increase.”

The release said that cruise ship arrivals registered a 57.2% increase in the month of June, that “there was also an overall increase of 10.2% in cruise visitors to Belize as compared to the first half of 2017,” and that “Belize continues to maintain double digit growth in overnight arrivals.”

The release says: “Overnight tourist arrivals increased by 15% in June 2018. Overnight arrivals in June have increased by at least 10% in each of the past three years. Arrivals in June and July have closely approached the high season numbers of January and February, particularly over the past six years.”

34,268 overnight tourists arrived in Belize in June 2016, 17.4% more than the number who arrived in 2015; 37,690 overnight tourists arrived in June 2017, 10% more than did so in 2016; and 43,389 arrived in June 2018, 15.1% more than did so in 2017. The half-year total for overnight tourists in 2018, is 269,502, which is 17 % more than the total for 2017 (230,153), and 27 % more than the total for the period in 2016 (211,594).

In the area of cruise tourism in Belize, the release says: “In June 2018, there were 20 cruise ship calls which amounted to over 73,000 cruise passengers arriving in Belize. This represented a sizeable increase of 57.2% or over 26,000 more cruise visitors when compared to June 2017. At the end of the first half of the year, there has been an overall increase of 10.2% in cruise visitors as compared to the first half of 2017. Arrivals for 2018 includes visitors from both Belize City and Harvest Caye Seaports.”

73,917 cruise tourists landed in Belize in June 2018, a 57.2% increase over June 2017 (47,007), and a 13% increase over 2016, when 65,399 cruise tourists landed. A total of 629,684 cruise tourists arrived in the first half of 2018, 10.2% more than the number who arrived in 2017 (571,216), and 13% more than 2016, when 554,276 tourists arrived on cruise ships.

The Belize Tourism Board attributes the “exceptional increase in tourism arrivals” to their, and their “valued stakeholders’” marketing of our country “as a Curious Place and as a premier tourism destination.”

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Deshawn Swasey

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