Positive reports came forth at the 13th Annual Tourism Industry Presentation that was sponsored by the Belize Tourism Board and hosted for the first time in Corozal Town at Tony’s Inn & Beach Resort on Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
It was reported that Belize’s tourism industry is in good health and showing positive growing trends with presenters celebrating achievements and past performance. The main focus of the presentation was on the tourism master plan which was formulated a few years ago and to present to stakeholders the Ministry’s plan for the year ahead.
There are more tour guides and hotel rooms than in past years and the Ministry of Tourism announced that it has just secured an $11Mil Bze loan for infrastructural development through Taiwan’s International Cooperation for Development Fund.
Tourism figures are up from 2013 when compared to 2012 and including a positive growth in the tourism private sector. Minister of Tourism and Culture, Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., indicated that Belize saw an increase of 21.2% in the number of tour operators in the country and an 8.4% growth in licensed accommodation establishments. The number stands at 1,400 licensed tour guides for the country.
Belize Tourism Board Director of Tourism Lara Esquivel Frampton
Director of Tourism, Lara Esquivel Frampton, indicated that 65% of the BTB’s budget was invested in marketing Belize abroad which has proven shown an over 7% growth in overnight tourism when compared to 2012. The cruise tourism in Belize also enjoyed an over 5% increase in 2013.
Guest speaker for the event, Bonita Morgan, Director of Resources and Mobilization Development at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), congratulated Belize in achieving such impressive numbers over the past year and commented that it puts the country at the forefront of the region. She stated that not many Caribbean countries are going to show anything higher than a 3% increase while some destinations have registered a flat performance in 2013.
“It has to be that you are doing something right within Belize in terms of working together—public and private sector—to make sure you take advantage of whatever opportunities are out there to bring visitors into your country,” commented Bonita Morgan.
Hon. Heredia says that the Ministry has secured funding for infrastructural development that will provide for more growth this year. The $11Mil funding from Taiwan will be used for the upgrading of the House of Culture and the preservation of historical buildings in Belize City. Four million is being discussed with Belize Rural Development Program to look at other community-based tourism initiatives for both northern and southern Belize.
Lara Frampton added that there will be projects in various established destinations in addition to three other destinations seeing major waterfront restoration projects which the BTB will be working very closely with. These destinations include Punta Gorda, Caye Caulker and Corozal Town.
During the end of her presentation, guest speaker Bonita Morgan highlighted emerging trends in the global tourism environment and gave suggestions/recommendations on what opportunities Belize can take advantage of to continue producing a positive growth in its tourism industry.
Guest Speaker, Bonita Morgan, Director of Resources and Mobilization Development, Caribbean Tourism Organization
Overnight arrivals at Belize's Phillip Goldson International Airport