Belize Set New Tourism Records in 2014

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Belize’s record tourist arrival records for 2014 are a result of quality and great word of mouth, according to The Lodge at Chaa Creek

Belize's Magnificant Half Moon Caye

Belize always had a lot to offer. It’s just been a matter of letting people know...

Belize’s record breaking tourist arrivals figures for 2014 show that having a quality product that attracts positive word of mouth is the best marketing strategy there is, according to The Lodge at Chaa Creek’s marketing administrator.

Roberto Harrison was referring to a 16 January 2015 article in Belize’s “The Reporter” newspaper that quoted Belize Tourism Board (BTB) figures indicating there were 1,207,386 tourist arrivals for 2014, representing a new record for the little Caribbean country’s tourism industry.

Mr Harrison also said that the figures also show that Belize broke another record by hosting over 300,000 overnight visitors throughout 2014.

“The 300,000 overnight guests figure has been a goal we’ve been hoping to reach for years,” Mr Harrison said, “And now, with the BTB reporting 321,220 overnight visitors for 2014, we have a real reason to celebrate. It’s like a runner breaking the four minute mile,” he added.

According to The Reporter article, airport arrivals in 2014 were also up seven percent from 2013, with a total of 239,255 arrivals for that year compared to 2013’s 223,510.

The last year also saw a 42.9 percent increase for cruise ship arrivals, according to The Reporter.

Mr Harrison said that Belize, as a small, developing country, has a relatively small marketing budget compared to other destinations, and the country’s success has depended on what Belize offers, rather than aggressive marketing.

“When you consider that Belize has only been an independent nation since 1981, and tourism only really began in earnest after that, the industry’s growth has been quite extraordinary. This is especially true in light of the marketing efforts of competitive destinations,” Mr Harrison said.

“However, with our Caribbean coastline, the world’s second largest barrier reef, huge tracts of protected, pristine rainforests filled with exotic wildlife and a wealth of ancient Maya temples and archaeological sites, Belize always had a lot to offer. It’s just been a matter of letting people know that, and we’ve been fortunate to have excellent word of mouth, especially over social media.

“It proves once again that a great product sells itself, especially in today’s social media environment, where word of mouth communicates so rapidly,” he said.

Mr Harrison also pointed to enhanced air service to Belize as a factor in the country’s tourism growth, especially from destinations in North America and Europe, which represent Belize’s largest and second largest markets, respectively.

“It was wonderful hearing these latest figures,” Mr Harrison said, “and what’s even better is that we’re all looking forward to another great year in 2015. The more that people know about Belize, the easier our job is, and that says a lot,” he added.


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Mark Langan

Mark Langan
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