Southwest Airlines Inaugural Flight to Belize - Southwest Airlines landed their first 737 aircraft in Belize City on Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm at Philip S.W. Goldson International airport and departed at 4:00 pm. It was a grandiose event as the Belize Tourism Board boasts an increase of overnight tourist arrivals from June to September 2015.
September alone saw a 19.3% increase in overnight tourism and the new flight is expected to further increase this number. Travelers to Belize on the airline are excited about the “Southwest Effect”, as James Ashworth, Managing Director of Customer Support and Services at Southwest Airlines describes that when the airline enters a market they bring fares down by approximately 30%, they have no bag fees, no change fees and they provide world-class customer service. It is a great product to a great market.
The celebration kicked off at Houston Hobby International concourse with a news event. Travelers enjoyed trivia, giveaways and complimentary beverages onboard this flight to kick off their vacation.
Upon arrival, the Belize Tourism Board staff welcomed travelers with water arch salute, gift bags, music and complimentary Beer of Belize, Belikin.
The official inauguration ceremony commenced at 2:40p.m. and speakers included the Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism in Belize, the Honorable Carlos Moreno, US Ambassador of Belize and Mr. James Ashworth, Managing Director of Customer Support and Services of Southwest Airlines, Mr. Jorge Espat, Managing Director of the Belize Airport Concession Co., and hosted by Ms. Karen Pike, Director of Marketing for BTB.
Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. stated, "As the North American travelers continue to dominate our market, this partnership comes at an opportune time. Lower airfares, higher interconnectivity, and a relentless appeal for customer service excellence is what we welcome today to our shores. I am convinced that Southwest Airlines will certainly attract more travelers to our beautiful country. Already, the buzz is afoot. In September alone, Belize experienced a 19.9% increase in arrivals here at the PGIA, showing the continued strength of Belize's tourism equity and competitiveness."
"Belize City marks our 96th destination and brings our second Central American nation onto our route map," said James Ashworth, Southwest Airlines Managing Director of Customer Support and Services. "We're proud to bring our low fares, no bag fees and no change fees to the customers traveling to and from Belize."
The launch of the inaugural flight from Houston provides a great opportunity for more travelers to enjoy the many experiences Belize has to offer such as the Garifuna culture, pristine beaches, and breathe taking Barrier Reef.
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has welcomed Southwest Airlines as the country’s newest industry partner and expresses its excitement for the many new developments this partnership will bring, which includes a positive shift in the market, create competitive rates to Belize, more benefits to the consumers.
The excitement of Southwest Airlines' first flight to Belize started at Houston's Hobby International concourse
Belizean Flight Attendant on Southwest Airlines, Dion Spain, was on board the aircraft handing out Belizean flags to all the passengers
"The flight was fantastic, super easy, cheap and fun. Southwest is always very laid back and the airplanes are very spacious with two free checked bags. I love Southwest," commented our friend Michelle Foster who provided these images to Ambergris Today.
Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, along with other dignitaries welcome Southwest Airlines' first passengers to Belize