Tourism statistics for the start of the year indicate not only sustained, but increasing interest in Belize, as overnight tourist arrivals as well as cruise ship arrivals continue to record significant increases.
Arrivals via the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA), which accounts for the majority of overnight arrivals, show that for the month of January 2004, there was an increase of 9 percent growth over the corresponding month of 2003. A total 13,158 persons arrived in country January 2003 as compared with 14,342 visitors in January of this year. This upsurge continued into February 2004, which recorded a 17 percent increase over February 2003.
Figures as for both January and February 2004 marked record highs, segueing from a previous consecutive 13 record-breaking months starting from November 2002 through December 2003, with the exception of September, which did record an increase.
The cruise sector is also continuing to experience astounding growth. January 2004 marked an increase of 67.3 percent over January 2003. A total 94,861 cruise ship passengers made their way to the mainland in January 2004, as compared with 56,689 persons for the said period 2003. The figure for cruise ship arrivals in February of this year soared to 87,532, which constitutes an 81.7 percent increase over that of February 2003, being 48,172.
“Belize is becoming an increasingly popular vacation destination,” comments Director of Tourism, Tracy Taegar.
“The increases in tourism arrivals are a positive indicator of expansion in the industry and serve as a barometer in measuring marketing initiatives,” Taegar went on to say.