Belize - Travel and TourismBelize - Travel and Tourism
Over the past decade, Belize has grown into a prime destination for American tourists and retirees. Tourism continues to reflect robust growth prospects. It contributes approximately 38.1% ($244.85 million) of GDP and is the cuntry’s top foreign exchange and revenue earner. There are several tourism-related opportunities for investment and trade, including in ecotourism, adventure, nature, cruise, and other nautical tourism related activities.
Since 2015, several new tourist routes have opened up, making major destinations in the United States, Canada, and Latin America more accessible and affordable. These include Southwest Airlines routes to Houston, Denver, and more recently, Fort Lauderdale; West Jet Airlines to Toronto; COPA Airlines to Panama; and AeroMexico to Mexico City. In 2016, Norwegian Cruise Line opened its long-awaited cruise port complete with island resorts and shopping as an upscale island destination in Southern Belize. Well known hotel brands have also announced expansion projects into Belize, including Hilton, Wyndham, Marriott, and the Four Seasons.
As an English speaking destination in close proximity to the United States, Belize is a draw for many U.S. tourists and retirees. Cultural, nature based tourism that promotes sand and sea, mayan culture, leisure, and adventure tourism are some of the leading subsectors of interest to American businesses and investors. Belize is also increasingly recognized for its second-home buyers market, along with other countries in Central America including Panama and Costa Rica.
Most of the country’s tourism industry cater to a “boutique-style” experience, often focusing on adventure and recreational or “eco-tourism” activities. Opportunities exist in sub sectors supporting the tourism industry including equipment and supplies for the hospitality sector (e.g. by hotels and restaurants), general merchandising; printing, marketing and promotional materials and supplies; “green” food packaging; construction equipment and supplies. Medical tourism is also emerging as a nascent subsector.
Tourism is a very important industry for Belize, with numerous other related economic subsectors. For example, the auto rental and (water) taxis sectors rely on tourists and the farmers and fishermen depend on local restaurants where tourists consume fresh produce.
Several opportunities for investment and trade exist that are directly and indirectly related to the tourism industry. These opportunities extend to ecotourism and adventure tourism, developing nature, trail and caving systems; beach resorts; cruise tourism facilities including shopping centers, restaurants, cafes and bars; auto rental services; natural parks and adventure services (e.g. canoeing, horseback riding, zip lining, etc.) nautical tourism including cruise tendering services, diving services, marinas, ports and services to attract tourists in vessels (yachts, sail boats, and charter boats).
As Belize becomes more accessible and attractive to international tourists, tourism sub-subsectors are also evolving to meet consumer demands. An increase in cruise ship arrivals is already translating to additional cruise disembarkation facilities. Recently expanded flight connections will mean an increase in construction to meet room capacity demands. Improved standards for accommodations, tourism related services e.g. zip lining will require newer consumer goods and technologies. An increasing eco-mindset and need for infrastructure to support the tourist areas is also leading to increasing opportunitites in renewable energy, waste management, and alternatives to single-use plastic.
Belize Tourism Industry Association: http://www.btia.org/
- BTB Retirement Incentives: http://www.belizeretirement.org/
- Belize Hotel Association: http://www.belizehotels.org/
- BELTRAIDE: http://www.belizeinvest.org.bz.
Belize Travel and Tourism Trade Development and Promotion