The year 2005 has proven similarly successful for arrivals predominantly through two ports of entry, being the Philip Goldson International Airport and the border points. Tourist arrivals at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) for the months of January – December, 2005, recorded a 7.4% increase over the same period last year. This port of entry single-handedly represented 73.8% of all overnight visitors. Additionally, the total number of overnight arrivals documented at PGIA was recorded at 174,636 for January – December 2005, compared to 162,675 for the same period last year.
Arrivals from all border points, inclusive of PGIA, Santa Elena Border Station, Belize Western Border Station, Dangriga Town Seaport, Punta Gorda Seaport, for the period January – December, 2005 recorded an overall increase of 2.5 percent over the same period in 2004.
On a similar note, these increases in overnight tourism arrivals are additionally reflected in hotel accommodation revenues. Hotel revenues for the year January – December, 2005 were BZ$103.2 million, representing an exceptional growth of 11.6 percent over 2004 total of BZ$92.5 million dollars.
Cruise statistics for the period January – December 2005 have decreased for the first time since 1998. Official cruise figures for 2005 are recorded at 800,331 passengers aboard 370 cruise ship calls. This represents a 6% decline in cruise passenger arrivals from last year. This decrease in passenger arrivals is due primarily to the direct and indirect effects of a very active hurricane season in 2005, particularly hurricanes Emily and Katrina. This led to a total of 23 cancelled cruise ship calls, amounting to 63,000 passengers. The greatest impact was the cancellation of the Carnival Elation which was a year-round, bi-weekly vessel, which was commissioned to house Katrina victims in the Louisiana area.
“The Belize Tourism Board assertively maintains its efforts to promote Belize in the international marketplace and pledges its support to create new opportunities that will compliment the overall growth of the industry,” comments Director of Product Development, Anthony Mahler. “We have approached a new year and look forward to greater economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs, who we continue to encourage to become active stakeholders in the growing industry.”