Published on : Friday, November 17, 2017
Karen Bevans, the director of tourism for the Belize Tourism Board and vice chairman for the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) said, “Though recent news has been covering the hurricane destruction, we want to shift perceptions to remind travelers that the Caribbean remains open for business.”
While Belize escaped the wrath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, a number of Caribbean countries in the northern Leeward Islands and the northern Caribbean weren’t that lucky. Many of them are still recovering from the storms a month later.
Bevans said, “Because we are in a position to welcome visitors and are experiencing tourism growth, we want to use that bright spot to help others during this difficult time.”
As of September 2017, overnight arrivals in Belize were up by 8.6 percent and search traffic for the same period is up year-over-year. Belize offers the best of both worlds: Caribbean Sea shorelines, which host the Belize Barrier Reef and a rich marine life, and the Central American jungles to the west, home to Mayan ruins like Caracol.
New air facilities have been added to accommodate the increase in demand. A new direct route from Calgary to Belize via WestJet airlines began Nov. 3, and Air Canada is starting direct flights to Belize from Toronto on Dec. 15, 2017.
The country will also welcome two new luxury resorts: Mahogany Bay Village, a Hilton Curio brand, in San Pedro; and Itz’ana Resort & Residencies in Placencia. Both are slated to open in December.
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), in collaboration with local tourism industry stakeholders, has launched the “Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund” to assist victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Funds will be donated to the Caribbean Tourism Organization, and used directly for food, medication, water, or materials for rebuilding.