Tourism Sector Expects Significant Growth in 2024, Minister Reports

Tourism Sector Expects Significant Growth in 2024, Minister Reports

The Ministry of Tourism is expecting a major jump in tourism numbers for 2024, which represents an expected eleven percent growth in the sector. During his budget address, Minister of Tourism Anthony Mahler revealed that Belize has already recorded a sixteen percent increase in overnight tourism for the first two months of the year. Mahler explained that the country’s tourism numbers are on track to exceed pre-pandemic levels.

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism: “The moth of January saw an impressive 57,000 arrivals making it the highest January ever. This stellar performance continued in February with an all time high of over 59,000 in arrivals. We expect a 10% increase in tourist arrivals for March with projections of over 60,000 visitors for this month. Madam Speaker this would be a first for tourism in Belize and it would be a new high for tourist arrivals to the jewel. At this pace we project that tourism will generate revenues of around $.1.4 billion dollars this year. This is $200 million dollars more than we did in 2023. Big growth, I think it will be more than that too. One of my professors when I used to go to university told me you bring down the number a little bit so when you do more you look better right ? So I think it will do a little better. With that said it would be remiss of me not to thank our hard working men and women who make up the tourism industry. Without your passion and dedication Belize would not be on this economic growth path. Madam Speaker the cruise sector also saw a resurgence in 2023 with a total of over 900,000 cruise visitors from 309 calls. This figure is a significant 47% increase over the previous year reflecting the sector’s continued recovery.”

Mahler went on to speak on the need for a cruise port docking facility in Belize City to take advantage of the increase in global cruise tourism. He also spoke on the increase in tourist arrivals at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. 

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism: “Madam Speaker there is demand. We have throughout the year with requests for more than 5 ships in a day. But we cannot expect to fully take advantage of these opportunities in cruise tourism without a birthing facility in the Belize district. The longer we take the more the larger ships will continue to bypass Belize as they are doing now. To prudently manage the cruise sector I commissioned the modernization of the cruise tourism policy in late 2022. This work which was completed in 2023 highlights the need to prioritize environmental stewardship, community engagement and resilience as we move towards the target of 2.5 million cruise passengers by 2033. Madam Speaker my team and I have said this time and time again, airlift is the life blood of our tourism industry and over the last three years we have invested a significant amount of time, effort and money on building new air routes and increasing capacities. Madam Speaker nothing pumps me up more as Minister of Tourism then when I go to the international airport especially on a Saturday and I see all those big birds lined up and people are coming off and spending their money in Belize. I know we’re working hard towards improving everything in tourism.”

Mahler stated that the BTB has funded several projects throughout the country.

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