In 2015, the overnight tourism industry experienced many firsts and record breaking numbers which lead to an overall growth of 6.2% or 19,900 over 2014. Despite an unsteady first and second quarter, Belize had seven straight months of arrival increases; whereby, the bulk of the increases occurred in the last four months. September to December of 2015 showed record improvements with overnight arrivals increasing every month in comparison to last year’s figures. September had an increase of 19.3%, October 22.1%, November 33% and December 22.5% increase.
November’s 33% increase is the largest ever recorded for this month, which rarely goes above a 10% increase. The month of December saw 39,977 overnight visitors to Belize, which is the first time in history that a month in overnight arrivals has approached 40,000.
The month of December has historically been a busy time of year for overnight tourist traffic
into Belize. It officially marks the beginning of the tourism high season, as visitors from North America vacation in the Caribbean and Central America to escape the winter weather.
The year 2015 also marked the beginning of Southwest and COPA Airlines’ flights to Belize in October and December respectively, boosting overnight arrivals through the international airport. Since the first flight of Copa Airlines in December, South American visitors has increased 50.3% when compared to 2014. Airport arrivals accounted for majority of the overnight arrivals with around 75.02% of the overall overnight figure. The total increase in Airport Arrivals for 2015 was 7%. All these factors culminated in a strong increase in visitor traffic in the latter months of the year.
For 2015, there was a total of 957,975 Cruise Passenger Arrivals. This was a minor dip of -1% when compared to 2014. In the last quarter of 2015, October recorded a drop of 29.2%, but an increase in November of 9.2% (81,113 passengers) and in December of 1.6% (143,598 passengers). For 2015, there was only 1 call cancellation in the last quarter of the year amounting to a total of 3,070 less passengers arriving to Belize. Finally, in December, Belize received the newest Cruise line - the MSC Divina.
Americans continue to be our largest market for visitors, making up 63.1% of the overall arrivals. This is followed by Europeans at 12% and Canadians at 7%.