Economic Growth in Belize: Tertiary Sector Saves the Day

Economic Growth in Belize: Tertiary Sector Saves the Day

During the budget debate, many members of the government side spoke on the country’s economic growth last year. Some of those statements were backed up by the latest data released yesterday from the Statistical Institute of Belize. According to the SIB’s Gross Domestic Product report, the economy grew by three points two percent for the last quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. That growth is valued at forty-one-point-four million dollars. Despite the overall growth, there were declines in economic activity for the primary and secondary sectors, which account for raw materials and manufactured goods respectively. However, the saving grace for the economy was the tertiary (services) sector. Christopher Hulse Statistician 2 with the SOB said that the growth was primarily due to the recovery of the tourism industry and shared the projected estimate for overall GDP for 2023.

Christopher Hulse, Statistician 2: “Fourth quarter of 2023, when you compare it to the fourth quarter of 2022, we saw a 3.2% increase. This was driven by growth in the tertiary sector of 8.8%, but we had declines mainly due to the dry weather conditions in primary, a 3.1% decline, which would lead to a decrease in secondary at 5.3%. The tertiary sector went from $797.1 million in quarter four of 2022 to $867.4 million for quarter four of 2023. This is an increase of $70.3 million or 8.8% mainly driven by an increase in the hotels and restaurants industry, transportation, we see arts, entertainment, recreation the industries that have a tie to the increase in tourism movement. Looking at the other services, admin and support services went up by 4.5% as you see an increase in BPO’s and also travel agencies and tour operators. So two things that are increasing, the call centers and since we have tourism movement we see the travel agencies and tour operators also increasing. So based on the sum of the four quarters of the year, we see that goods and services for 2023 were valued at an estimated $5.27 billion. This is an increase of $234.3 million or 4.7%. The primary drivers for growth were in the tertiary sector as primary sector was down by 6.3%, secondary sector was down by 1.6%, and then the tertiary sector was up by 9.6%.”

The official total for GDP performance in 2023 will be released later this year.

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