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Jan 2, 2008

Overnight tourist arrivals up, cruise stats down

Earlier in this newscast we presented the Police Department’s annual crime statistics and to stay with that theme we went looking for another set of important numbers: tourist arrivals. According to the Belize Tourism Board, they’ve been having a little bit of difficulty coordinating the count with the Immigration Department, but through the end of October the provisional statistics show an overall growth in arrivals, through all ports of entry, of over four thousand visitors. That’s an increase of around two-point-one percent. Depending on how things ran in November and December, the final percentage figure may move slightly up or down with the annual count coming close to the quarter million mark. Belize has recorded an annual growth in tourist arrivals every year since 1999 and the increases for 2004, 5 and 6 have been four point seven, two point five, and four point five percent respectively. In 2008 the B.T.B. says it will be working closely with operators of the Philip Goldson International Airport to increase airline service to Belize, both via scheduled and chartered carriers.

On the cruise ship side of tourism the trend is running in the opposite direction as cruise arrivals for the year are expected to finish somewhat below the six hundred and fifty-five thousand passengers of 2006. The outlook is uncertain as, according to the B.T.B., the cruise lines have redeployed some ships from the Caribbean to Europe in search of healthier profit margins.

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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