ETurboNews Statistics obtained from the Belize's Immigration Department show that the country has been welcoming an increasing number of visitors to its shores via the border points, cruise ship port, and the international airport.
The most recent report indicated that the number of tourist arrivals (exclusive of cruise passengers), which includes arrivals at all border points both via land, air, and sea recorded a 3.3 percent increase during the months of January through September, 2004 over the same period of last year.
In total, Belize hosted 178,104 overnight visitors during the months of January through September 2004, surpassing the 171,709 visitors recorded in 2003.
The Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) recorded a 6.2 percent increase during the months or January through September 2004. For the month of September solely, there was an increase of 13.6 percent compared to that in September 2003. This increase can be attributed to the significant increase in American visitors during this month.
In addition, the cruise sector continues to show significant growth as 289 ships called to Belize's port during the months of January through September 2004, accounting for a total of 611,206 passengers. This figure represents an increase of 67.8 percent over the same period in 2003 when only 364,290 cruise passengers were recorded. It is noteworthy that the total for the months of January through September, 2004 already represents an increase of 6.3 percent of the 2003 total cruise passengers total. For the month of September single-handedly, there were 45,132 cruise passengers who visited Belize compared to 31,430 who visited in September 2003.
"It is encouraging to note that both the cruise sector and overnight tourism continue to grow," comments Tourism Director, Tracy Panton. "While both private establishments and other government bodies have worked so ardently for these increases, the BTB continues to pledge its support to create new opportunities that will compliment the overall growth of the industry."
Recently, Belize attended the FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show is Barbados and a dive show in Houston geared at developing overnight tourism.