By Alexis R. Milan
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has reported a positive increase of tourism arrivals to the country in the third-quarter of the year.
This was after the Board reported a decrease in overall arrivals through the first half of the year in comparison to 2014’s record breaking year.
According to Karen Pike, BTB Director of Marketing and Industrial Relations, tourism is on the rise again. She added that though the industry has seen slight decreases since the start of the year through to the third quarter, the BTB expects the fourth quarter to continue the current trend and finish the year strong.
Pike said the BTB anticipates that 2015 will be on par with 2014, when Belize drew a record-breaking 1.2 million tourists. That number this year may even be a little higher she said.
According to the BTB, overnight arrivals from July to September have shown a significant 6.9 percent increase, when compared to the same period last year. The month of September recorded a 19.3 percent increase, the highest increase ever recorded for the month dating back to 2006.
In that month, the country saw 14,242 overnight visitors, an increase of 2,299 compared to September 2014.
The Phillip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) continues to be the country’s leading entry point, the BTB said. Air arrivals accounted for 74.7 percent of total overnight arrivals for the third-quarter.
In September there was a 20 percent increase of arrivals at the PGIA. The United States accounts for the bulk of those, as American arrivals increased by 28.5 percent for the month. America continues to be the country’s main market, making up close to 65 percent of all arrivals, the BTB reported.
BTB also noted that there has been a major increase in South American arrivals, with a 45.1 percent increase for the first nine months of this year. This was followed by the Asian market, which has a 25.1 percent increase.
The BTB expects the South American market to keep growing as a result of marketing strategies implemented in the region, including trade shows, road shows and the launch of Copa Airlines later this year.
Cruise arrivals through the first nine months of this year, however, have taken a dip of 0.3 percent, the BTB said, but it is still up significantly from 2013.