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Dec 15, 2021

Belize Named in the Top Travel Trends of 2021

There is good news tonight for the tourism industry and by extension the economy as a report from Forward Keys is indicating that Belize is among the top destinations in the Latin America and Caribbean region rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic. The report gives a retrospective of the year 2021 compared to pre-pandemic figures in 2019 and Belize is one of the prime destinations for international travellers. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The tourism industry was among the first to be shattered by the COVID-19 pandemic. All entry points were closed off to international travellers and tens of thousands of persons employed in the sector lost their livelihoods. But as the world continues to build its resilience, world travelling is gradually picking up and Belize is a destination of choice for U.S. tourists.


Abil Castaneda

Abil Castaneda, Quality Assurance Director, B.T.B.

“Up to November of 2021, have received in overnight tourism approximately forty-nine percent of what we had received in 2019. We are ten points above the regional mark, but there is also a lot more that we are seeing in terms of November, December and January. The numbers are looking even much better. Currently we still have the majority of our visitors coming in through the airport – about ninety-one percent of them – the majority are coming from North America. And the global report that came in is showing the recovery process is happening intra-regionally. What that means is that sixty-eight percent of travellers globally are travelling within the region that they live.”


A recent report on 2021 world travels speaks to stand-out destinations, those which have maintained their visitor numbers in Central America—these are Belize and El Salvador. In fact, both countries achieved record visitation rates, above sixty percent of 2019 levels, throughout the year. B.T.B.’s Quality Assurance, Capacity Development Director and Registrar of Hotels, Abil Castaneda breaks down the figures.


Abil Castaneda

“We are seeing that in the case of where we are in our region, there is great positive news all around. Just to create some context, the UNWTO as well as this report is reporting that up to November, tourism has only recovered twenty-two percent globally when compared to 2019 and pre-COVID figures, but what it does show is that in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean that has grown up to forty percent recovered. It is the best region; it seems to be the most resilient region, it seems to be the region that is bouncing back. When we took a look at our own numbers, we were glad to see that we were actually ten points above that; we are close to fifty percent already recovered overall. So that just goes to show that Belize, as a destination, is a leader in our region in the whole recovery process and we are very glad and proud to be able to be at this juncture.”


The trends are attributed to actions taken on the ground in Belize to ensure safety for travellers.


Abil Castaneda

“We rolled out in 2020 the tourism gold standard program; first with hotels and then with tour operators and we have now followed and included restaurants and gift shops, bus transport providers, taxis. And what these protocols provide is a set of guidelines or recommendations that every operator in the tourism industry should follow to maintain a certain level of health and safety both for the guests, but also for their workers and themselves. Up to date, we have had eighty-six percent of our licensed hotels already gold standard certified which is a great milestone as well. We are trying to get above the ninety percent as we roll into the rest of the high season. Hundred percent of our tour operators are gold standard certified so that’s something that goes well with the industry in that we are able to say very confidently that we are providing a safe and secure product and experience here while our guests are in Belize.”


According to the B.T.B. stats, only thirteen COVID-19 positive cases are on record from tourist arrivals at the airport, which translates to point zero-zero-seven percent of all arrivals. Meanwhile only thirty-three Belizeans returning home have tested positive since the international airport reopened. Duane Moody for News Five.

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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