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Jan 13, 2003

Tourism stats show impressive gains

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The report card on 2002 tourist arrivals is in…and guess what, the industry passed with flying colours. This afternoon, I caught up with Director of Tourism, Tracy Taegar who broke down the figures and provided an insider’s perspective on the developments.

Tracy Taegar, Director of Tourism

“The report has just come in for cruise ship figures for 2002, we are up by five hundred percent, which is significant. At the airport for December, we recorded an eighteen point seven percent growth in overnight arrivals. We haven’t gotten the border figures yet, we should get that confirmed today, but I believe by the end of the year we should have a two percent growth in overnight arrivals, which is what we projected for this year.”

Janelle Chanona

“How are we coping as a country with these rapid increases in tourism development?”

Tracy Taegar

“I think we’re coping pretty well. Certainly we’re liasing with private sector in terms of looking at moderating growth in cruise ship sector, we have to be very careful with that obviously. Overnight arrivals, with the new air service coming, I think will be significant for next year once we don’t have any major crisis like the impending war with the U.S. But we feel very comfortable with the steady growth in overnight arrivals and we certainly will try and moderate the growth in cruise ship arrivals so that it can be sustainable in the long term.”

Janelle Chanona

“Are we still looking at five, six ships coming in or will we stick around the four and five.”

Tracy Taegar

“I don’t believe we’ll go over the four ships a day. There are very random cases where we will have five ships, but it’s not the recommendation of the board at this time to go beyond three to four ships a day.”

Belize’s tourism figures compare very well with other Caribbean destinations, most of which have not yet recovered from the impact of the September eleventh, 2001 terror attacks. Many have recorded negative growth rates for two successive years.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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