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Feb 11, 2005

Tourism arrivals up-again!

Statistics for last year’s tourist arrivals are in and they confirm that Belize’s biggest industry is getting even bigger. The number of bona fide visitors passing through the Philip Goldson International Airport increased by seven percent over 2003. Arrivals through all ports of entry, including the P.G.I.A. plus Western and Northern borders along with Dangriga and Punta Gorda, increased by a lesser amount but still recorded a healthy four point seven percent rise.

And those numbers translated into dollars, particularly in the form of hotel receipts. The Belize Tourism Board reports that total room revenues for 2004 grew by seventeen percent over 2003 to ninety-two point five million Belize dollars. Calculating the hotel room tax at seven percent, this yielded around six and a half million dollars for the government treasury. The rapid rise in room revenue can be attributed to new hotel construction, higher room prices, a trend toward more upscale accommodation and improved collection methods by the BTB.

Meanwhile, in the torrid cruise sector, visitor arrivals jumped to eight hundred and fifty thousand. Those figures are expected to level off in 2005, before expanding again, when and if Carnival goes forward with its plans for deep water cruise terminal on the south side of Belize City.

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