Last updated: 09:00 AM ET, Tue September 29 2015

Belize Seeks To Rebound From Flat 2015 Visitor Arrivals

Destination & Tourism | Brian Major | September 29, 2015

Belize Seeks To Rebound From Flat 2015 Visitor Arrivals

PHOTO: Belize tourism officials are seeking to continue the strong arrivals growth recorded in 2014. (Photo by Brian Major).

In recent years among the fastest-growing Caribbean travel destinations, Belize is seeking to rebound from flat visitor growth during the first eight months of 2015, said Belize Tourism Board (BTB) officials.

Belize hosted 214,177 overnight visitors between January and July, a 0.8 percent decline from the 215,981 travelers hosted during the same period in 2013, according to BTB statistics.

Only in March did the destination register an increase over 2014 arrivals, with 39,136 overnight visitors compared with the 38,719 hosted in March of 2014. Belize also hosted its highest one-month visitor total in March. The country recorded its lowest overnight arrivals total in May with 24,707 visitors. Last year, Belize hosted 321,217 overnight visitors, a healthy 9.2 percent increase over 2013.

BTB officials are hopeful that recent data indicates a turnaround is imminent.  The country’s overnight arrivals showed a 1.6 percent increase in June, and a 3 percent increase in July when compared with 2014 data.

BTB officials attribute the 2015 downturn to a struggling Canadian market. “The 0.8 percent drop in cumulative arrivals through the first seven months of 2015 was partially attributed to the consistent decreases in the number of overnight visitors from the Canadian market,” said BTB officials in a statement. “Statistical indicators have pointed to Canada’s economy going through a downturn."

While Belize’s land-based arrivals have declined in 2015, the destination’s cruise arrivals remained stable in the first seven months of the year. Cruise ship arrivals increased in both January and March, growing by 16.6 percent and 15.8 percent respectively, compared the same months in 2014. Overall Belize recorded 541,887 cruise visitors between January and June, a 2.8 percent increase over the same period in 2014.

“February 2015 saw a slight decrease of 2.7 percent, which resulted from the cancellation of two ships due to adverse weather conditions,” said the BTB statement.

“It is important to note that 2014 was an outlier year in regards to summer months in the cruise industry, as deployments from other regions were redirected to Belize increasing the booking calls. The bookings for 2015 have maintained as scheduled and showed an increase of 0.2 percent cumulative.”

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