Belize Tourism Board Records Historic Overnight Arrivals in December 2023
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) remains committed to fostering sustainable tourism growth in Belize. In December, the country recorded its highest overnight tourist arrival for any given month in its history, welcoming 55, 574 visitors. Director of Cruise & Capacity Development, Lloyd Enriquez spoke about the remarkable achievements in the tourism industry for 2023 and its contributing factors.
Lloyd Enriquez, Director of Cruise and Capacity Development: “This year was a very good year for tourism in Belize. We recorded 464,000 overnight visitors to Belize which was a substantial increase of about 25% over 2022 so that’s pretty good. We’re still a little bit behind 2019 figures so we’re lagging there about 7.6% but 2024 promises to be a very very good year where we’ll surpass and probably hit our highest ever in terms of overnight visitor arrivals. The most significant thing that we’ve been wor- many thing have been happening. The Belize Tourism Board has embarked on many many initiatives but the most important one is looking at the airlift capacity. So the Ministry spearheaded by the Minister there is an airline development committee which actually goes and visits with the airlines and encourages them to come to Belize. So expanding routes is very critical for us. The US market in particular accounts for 68% or thereabout of our total overnight visitors so that’s where we focused most of our efforts and there are many different marketing initiatives as well, training of our people to enhance the service delivery of our industry. So there are many different initiatives all around that will help make Belize a premier destination.”
Enriquez added that 2024 statistics will surpass pre pandemic levels of 2019. Yesterday represented the single busiest day Belize will experience this cruise ship season with 4 ships calling on Belize with approximately 16,000 passengers on board. Enriquez says BTB expects an uptick in the industry in 2024.
Lloyd Enriquez, Director of Cruise and Capacity Development: “For the overnight industry and the flights we’re currently averaging fifteen flights daily, on weekends that ticks up to around twenty three flights so we expect a very robust high season January through to May thereabouts April being one of the single highest months we’ll have for the entire year so we expect a huge uptick this year in terms of overnight visitor arrivals. The US market continues to dominate with about 68% of our overnight visitors. Europeans generally as a group 11%, and thereafter Canadians. So we’re expecting a very good high season and a very good year overall for overnight tourism for Belize. In terms of cruise tourism we expect similar numbers 904,000 came in this year and that is split between Belize City at FSTV and Harvest Caye down south. Harvest Caye accounts for about 25% of total visitors and 75% come to Belize City. So last year in 2023 we recorded 309 cruise ship calls overall. We expect a similar trend to continue in 2024.”
For 2024, BTB anticipates another grand announcement introducing new airlift routes to Belize in the next few months.