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Boats and Yachts, oh my! Belize taps into to “nautical tourism”

Also on the tourism front, the Ministry says it is exploring opportunities in nautical tourism. Often referred to as water tourism, it is the combination of sailing and boating with vacation and holiday activities. It also includes diving, yachting and harbour-side developments. That’s why Belize, as a member of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council, will benefit from a regional pre-notification arrival system for yachts and other boats called SAILCLEAR. CEO Nicole Solano explained how this is helpful to Belize’s tourism product. 

Nicole Solano, CEO, Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora Relations: “We are looking at Nautical Tourism as one of the areas that we see a lot of potential for development. So, in order to make it easier for these vessels to enter Belize we have to find a way for them to, you know, be able to digitally make their applications in order to meet the requirements for entry. So this is the first step in what we’re trying to accomplish to make it easier for these vessels to enter Belize legally and safely. No? So this is one of the requirements and you will see a lot more coming out of tourism in order to support this market because we know that the private vessel market and private yachting and chartering is a very important market for tourism and there’s a lot of potential for that here in Belize.”

She added that this is just another way to make the industry more inclusive. 

Nicole Solano, CEO, Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora Relations: “There are many aspects of tourism that we need to explore and that we need to build and grow. This is only one. Private yachting, private vessels, private marinas but also private aircraft. You know these are the higher end luxury market that we need to try and tap into. The reason why it hasn’t been before, I am not sure. What we are doing now is we’re looking at every possible opportunity and trying to see what we can do to grow and develop going into the future. If we don’t do that we will stay where we are. We have to look at where we’re going and what the opportunities are and the areas for growth. So, those are the areas that we’re looking at indeed.”

The council has donated four kiosks, which are placed at four locations in Belize: the Radisson Fort George Marina and the Old Belize Marina, both in Belize City; Amigos de Mar in San Pedro and Roberts Grove in Placencia. The BTB added that the system does not replace an official declaration.