2017 was a prosperous year for tourism in Belize, with 2018 promising to be even better!
With a unique blend of culture, rich inland natural resources and crystal blue waters with the world’s second largest Barrier Reef, Belize offers investors an ideal recipe for unprecedented growth and success in Tourism! Guided by the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan 2030, the tourism industry continues to contribute an upward of 40% of Belize’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), overnight tourism grew by 10.8% to 427,109 visitors in 2017 when compared to 2016. This exceeded the population size of Belize and represents a continuous vote of confidence from Belize’s overnight tourists stemming primarily from the U.S., Europe, and Canada. Cruise arrivals, also, grew in 2017 by 3.7% to 1,014,231 visitors when compared to 2016. Based on the recent opening of the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Cruise Port at Harvest Caye in Southern Belize and continued national cruise tourism growth, the total number of ship calls increased by a sizeable 13% to 336 calls in 2017.
Belize’s saga of successes was further harnessed in 2017. Notably, Belize won multiple World Travel Awards in various categories including being named one of the “must visit” locations by the New York Times. On the same par, the Financial Times, via its renowned fDi Magazine, awarded Belize “Best Tourism Location of the Future 2017/ 2018”; with specific distinctions in “Best Investment Awards – Hotels”, “Best Enhanced Airlift” and “Best Sustainable Strategy”. These successes are due to the efforts of the Government of Belize that continues to cultivate airline connections, which span more than sixteen cosmopolitan cities, including new airlines and routes to Canada and the USA. This is, also, attributed to several hotel developments reaping opportunities in Belize’s growing overnight tourism industry, including the recent opening of Curio by Hilton at Mahogany Bay Village, in November 2017; with additional internationally branded hotels announced, such as the Wyndham and the Dream Hotel Group. Meanwhile, multiple ultra-luxury private island developments are underway, including those on the Blackadore Caye, led by Oscar winner, Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as the Caye Chapel development, featuring a private airstrip and a branded 18-hole golf course by Greg Norman.
In 2018, Belize anticipates yet another record year of growth in amassing investments led by tourism and travel. As more people begin to explore Belize, additional investments are required to increase accommodation and hospitality services to fulfil the country’s niche tourism market.
The National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan (NSTMP) 2030 for Belize has assessed several opportunities for investment under six defined products. These include:
- Nature-Based – ecotourism and adventure tourism systems of themed natural and man-made nature-based concepts structured into integrated recreational ecotourism and adventure sites and centers as well as trail and national caving trail systems,
- Sun and Beach – resort and hotel developments within the luxury and pristine themes,
- Cruise – facilities for conventional and pocket cruise tourism with commercial centres and amenities,
- Leisure and Entertainment – facilities for shopping, restaurants, cafes, bars and attractive facilities and entertainment centres,
- Nautical – structures for a system of marinas, ports and services aimed at attracting tourists journeying in vessels (yachts, sail boats and charter boats), and
- Cultural – development of centers or museums elaborating the history, heritage and living cultures of Belize encapsulating the tourism experience.
For more details on investment opportunities in Belize’s growing tourism industry, please feel free to contact our team at BelizeINVEST, a unit of BELTRAIDE!
14 Orchid Garden St.
City of Belmopan