Stellar Statistics

Stellar Statistics

The 2024 tourism statistics are as illuminating as the total solar eclipse that happened on Monday. Let’s just say that there is no obscuration in either case- the pictures and the numbers are pretty clear. On Monday, millions of people along the “path of totality” put on their eclipse glasses and pulled out their smart phones to capture the moment the Moon passed between the Earth and the Sun, completely blocking the Sun’s light. Such celestial events are rare and spectacular. Perhaps the eclipse reminded us that we really need the Sun and despite human made borders, the Earth is home to all of us. Flags and nationality aside, we are Earthlings belonging to one planet and one race, the human race. Eclipses are viewed from a distance and only for a moment.  Statistics are verified up close and could be examined in perpetuity.  In eclipse language, the 2024 statistics show that Belize’s tourism is reaching a phase of totality and troubles from our pandemic past have been completely blocked out. Revenues for this year are expected to reach $1.4 billion. We must not be too ahead of ourselves but no special glasses are required to see what that would mean for all tourism stakeholders and Belizeans.

Statistically speaking, our tourism industry has eclipsed the numbers from 2019.  The devastating economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and Hurricane Lisa in 2022, briefly obscured our path; however, those shadows are gone and major successes are being illuminated.  January through March of 2024 saw a 29.7% increase in overnight arrivals compared to the same period in 2023 and an increase of 17.5% compared to the benchmark year 2019. As stated by the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, Hon. Anthony Mahler, “we are projecting approximately eleven percent growth for Belize in 2024”. Sparing some details, the big picture is that our sustainable tourism ethos, pristine natural resources, and diverse cultures have been fundamental in achieving these successes. All the vested organizational bodies, industry stakeholders, and strategic sector investments are aligning and the impact has been astronomical. The Ministry and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) continue to turn its travel telescope towards the future, anticipating for transformation in consumer behaviour, industry trends, infrastructural development, and climate change. On Monday, we watched the Sun become occulated by the Moon but on the 22 of April we will watch environmental issues take centre stage.

April 22nd is Earth Day.  Earth Day is an annual event that takes place at the start of Spring and is considered “the largest secular civic event in the world”. The day is meant to raise awareness about protecting the Earth’s natural resources for future generations as well as to honour the achievements of the environmental movement.  Earth Day 2024 is symbolically themed: “Planet Vs. Plastics”. It is a symbol of one of the greatest battles our planet is currently contending with. Environmentalist are committed to seeing 60% reduction in plastic production by 2040. The BTB is hosting an Earth Day Pop-up Market on April 20th at the Memorial Park.  Local, environmentally conscious entrepreneurs will feature their eco-friendly products and services in all of their stylish and sustainable varieties.

On Monday, as the Sun, Moon, and Earth aligned once more, entire lessons about cycles, synergies, and change came to mind. Namely, Belize’s tourism industry is well pass its recovery and has entered a new cycle of growth and change. The tourism statistics and projections for 2024 are better than any cosmic prediction and while the come-back is not exactly a celestial event, it is pretty stellar.

Chat again later.

Jasmine Anderson

For The Belize Tourism Board