By Benjamin Flowers Staff Reporter
“Belize needs to be proud for having a seven percent growth in arrivals from 2012 to 2013… the region will not see over three percent,” Bonita Morgan, guest speaker at the Belize Tourism Annual Industry Presentation.
The event, which took place at the Corozal Bay Hotel in Corozal Town last Wednesday, gathered industry partners, senior members of the BTB and even the Minister of Tourism Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., to discuss the many successes of the tourism industry during 2013.
The BTB’s “Year in Review” highlighted increases in overnight tour arrivals of 17, 14, and 13 percent, respectively, for the months of January, February, and March.
While figures for the end of 2013 are still pending, the BTB estimates total arrivals at 295,000.
Cruise passenger arrivals also grew by 19 percent at the beginning of 2013, and climbed up to over 30 percent in August.
The industry also grew experienced an eight-percent growth in licensed new hotels, three percent increase in licensed tour guides, and highlighted that two tour operators had grown their business by 21 percent.
Heredia gave insight into projects underway by the ministry, including the securing of $11 million from the government of the Republic of China, Taiwan, for the upgrade of the House of Culture.
He also spoke of the preparation of a National Transportation Master Plan in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport, and the finalization of the governing framework for the National Tourism Ministerial Council.
Director of Tourism Laura Frampton spoke on future projects of the industry, including a water front strategy for Corozal to improve tourism in northern Belize, and the “creation of a hospitality polytechnic institute, as a center of excellence in hospitality training and tourism sustainable development research.”