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May 27, 2020

Tourism Hit Hard by COVID-19!

Jacqueline Sabal

The tourism industry collapsed in a matter of days as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As far as it is known, one major airline, Southwest is not scheduled to fly to Belize until next year. When Belize closed its border points and the P.G.I.A., the visitors stopped coming and the hotels have had to lay off staff and close their doors at the height of the tourism season. But it’s not unique to Belize – it is being felt all over the world but the economic shocks will be felt longer and harder in countries like Belize that are reliant on tourism which accounts for about forty-five percent of the G.D.P. and employment. For the first quarter of this year, with most of the decline in the tertiary sector coming towards the end of March, Belize recorded declines in its peak tourism season for overnight and cruise arrivals. Today, the S.I.B. shared the recent stats for the first quarter for the tertiary sector with a look at how the tourism sector performed in the first three months of this year.


Jacqueline Sabal, Statistician II, S.I.B.

“Production within the tertiary sector decreased by three point three percent or fifteen point two million dollars, totaling four hundred and forty point two million for tertiary industry. In this sector, we saw a decline in the hotels, restaurants category bringing the total for this industry to thirty by zero point two percent. The only sector asserting positive pressure is government services totaling eighty-seven million dollars. In hotels and restaurants, overnight visitors fell by twenty-two percent; along with hotel room revenue which fell by nineteen percent and cruise visitors also decreased during the quarter by twenty-four point nine percent.  Tourist arrivals were down as the total number of overnight visitors to the country decreased from roughly one hundred and fifty-eight thousand five hundred visitors in the first quarter of 2019 to one hundred and twenty three thousand three hundred visitors in the same quarter of 2020. There were approximately twenty-four thousand less Americans visiting. Cruise passenger arrivals dropped twenty four point nine percent as a total of thirty one less ship calls were made during the first quarter of 2020.”

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