Belize’s favour continues to grow

Statistics obtained from Belize’s
Immigration Department illustrate that visitors continue to make Belize one
of their preferred destinations of choice for the summer.
The most recent report for total tourist arrivals (with the exclusion of
cruise passengers), which includes arrivals at all border points both via
land and by air, shows an increase of 7.8% during the months of January
through May, 2004 over last year’s arrivals during the same period of time.
In total, Belize was hosted 110,103 overnight visitors from January through
May, 2004.

In addition, tourist arrivals at the Philip Goldson International Airport
(PGIA) during the months of January through May 2004, recorded a 7% increase
over the same period last year.  This port of entry single-handedly
represented 72.1% of all overnight visitors.  Additionally, the total number
of overnight arrivals documented at the PGIA was recorded at 79,394 for the
months of January through May 2004 compared to 74,196 for the same period
last year.

The cruise sector continues to show growth as 395,102 passengers visited the
Belizean shores during the months of January through May 2004, representing
an increase of 71.9 % over the same time period in 2003.  During these
months in 2003, there were 229,826 cruise passengers recorded.

While tourism arrivals for the period of January to May at all border points
and the major point of entry; the PGIA have recorded cumulative increases in
visitation, the numbers recorded for the month of May 2004 only have shown a
meager decrease compared to May 2003.  A decrease of 2.2% has been recorded
at the PGIA for the month of May 2004 when compared to the same month last
year.  Prior to May 2004, tourism arrivals at the PGIA have seen seven
months of consecutive record highs.  A notable interest is the decline of
European and Caribbean visitors recorded during this period.

“The Belize Tourism Board continues its efforts to promote Belize in the
international marketplace as well as building ties with strategic partners,”
comments Director of Tourism, Tracy Taegar.  “We are approaching the summer
months and entering into the seasonality factor of the tourism industry
where activity begins to slow down.  However, our marketing and public
relations efforts continue,” Taegar noted.

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Before the end of the year, an increase in airlift capacity is expected with
the addition of service by Delta Airlines to Belize on December 11th, 2004.
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