Belize – Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret – is the most distinguished country in the Central American and Caribbean region. Belize is poised to become an international location for niche market tourism. Belize’s natural assets, development policies and pro-business investment climate have created an ideal destination for investors looking to differentiate based on quality.
Belize fosters an attractive platform for investors seeking to cater to the growing number of experience-based tourists. Its excellent natural resources and strong cultural heritage allows for eco-tourism, adventure and cultural tourism to flourish as its main motivations. Secondary tourism motivations range from nautical, cruise, sun & beach, and leisure & entertainment. Its tourism attractiveness excels mainly thanks to its biodiversity, ecotourism and cultural sites, with specific sites of international interest having great potential for tourism development.
Tourism is the largest service sub-sector in Belize. Tourism services include accommodations such as hotels and resorts, food and beverage, adventure tourism, transportation, travel trade, events and conferences, attractions, and tourism services. Because of Belize’s unique ability to offer tourists the features of an inland rainforest and the splendors of beach and sand, the diverse potential for investing in the experiential tourist market is vast.
Most statistics converge that tourism contributes anywhere from 18% – 25% of the total GDP, and accounts for about 28% of total employment. In 2011, the estimated Tourism Expenditure as a percentage of GDP was BZ $516.2 million. In 2010, Belize received 239,377 overnight arrivals and 764,628 cruise visitor arrivals, compared to 2009 whereby overnight arrivals and cruise visitor arrivals totaled 232,249 and 705,219, respectively.
A National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan for Belize 2030 (NSTMP) was completed in 2011. The master plan sets the guidelines for tourism sector development incorporating government reforms that will translate sustainability objectives into actions as well as public and private investments. The NSTMP will lead Belize into the future equipped with a dynamic, competitive and sustainable tourism industry. It offers a unique opportunity for Belize to build upon its strengths and take advantage of the strategic opportunities presented. By 2030, Belize is expected to reach 3 million overnight arrivals with the implementation of the NSTMP.
7 Destinations that have been identified for further investment are: