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Oct 31, 2019

Decrease in Tourist Arrivals – is it from the Western Border Closure?

Today, the Belize Hotel Association and the Belize Bus Association called a two-man press conference.  President Ted Tejada of the B.H.A. and Thomas Shaw of the Belize Bus Association presented for about thirty minutes to the press about the closure of western border and its impact on tourist arrivals through that border. Now, if you will recall, the Bus Association was up in arms a few months ago because they didn’t want those buses coming into the country. They thought that those buses were transporting Guatemalans who were eating up the whole pie. But it turns out that those buses are actually carrying Europeans who are on multi-destination trips to this side of the world. And these tourists have specific demands for transportation which the local industry needs to make major moves to accommodate those demands in six months. And it is urgent because the Belize Hotel Association says that the border issue has bearings on the tourist arrival numbers. Tejada shared that the number for tourist arrivals for Europeans saw a decrease reflected at the western border numbers and in the overnight numbers. Now, the closure of the border may not be the only reason that happened, but it is very likely that it can have an impact on the long term European arrivals to the country. Tejada shares more in detail.

 

Ted Tejada

Ted Tejada, President, B.H.A.

“As you can see for the last four months, June, July, August and September, we have had a decrease of night stays. Even though in August we had an increase in arrivals, these people are staying fewer nights than they usually stay in Belize. And this is a very worrying point for all of us. If the tourists have declined in coming to the country of Belize, not only have they declined, but why are they staying less in the country of Belize. That is something that we have to figure out. Here, we can see that the demographics that is being affected or the demographics of the tourists that are less coming to Belize. As you can see, the North Americans have a one point six increase; the Mexicans we had an eight point seven but the Europeans we had a negative point one percent. As you know, where do the Europeans come through the western border. They come through Guatemala into Belize; they come for fourteen days – they stay ten in Guatemala, two in Belize and two in Mexico. So, this is why it is important for us to look at all the avenues. If you look at the statistics before, Caye Caulker was the most dynamic destination of Belize for 2018, as a matter of fact it was the most dynamic for the first half of 2019 but we have seen the biggest loss at negative six point eight. Why? Because this is the favorite place for the Europeans, they love Caye Caulker. If we do close the border for the Europeans, that is where we will see the most loss in Caye Caulker. That is the reason why we have partnered with them. We do not have a European flight to Belize. We need that leg that comes from Europe – Iberia every single day to Guatemala, they come to Belize and then exiting out.”

 

Reporter

“Do you think that we will be able to somewhat can reverse this trend of a reduced number of European arrivals?”

 

Ted Tejada

“The product or the people who sell this product, at this time they are looking for the quality in terms of the buses. Unless we can provide them those and they have requested pictures, they have requested descriptions. It is not just the buses, they are asking for the service. They are asking do you have a French guide that can go with my group do you have a French guide? No, we don’t.  Do you have an Italian guide – no, we don’t. We told them that we are working on the infrastructure that is the buses and the rest of the items we will be working along with them.”


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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