The European Connection

The European Connection

Airline routes are the lifeblood of commercial air travel. Air travel is the preferred mode of transportation for long distances so there is no surprise that it accounts for nearly 60% of international inbound tourism globally.  People like to fly because it’s quick and convenient; however, traveling to a destination that may require multiple stops in order to get there, can be inconvenient and act as a deterrent for travellers. Nevertheless, existing airline routes create connectivity between cities, countries, and regions. Connectivity allows for more investment and economic possibilities.  Tourism destinations are always looking to add new routes that facilitate seamless connections for travellers. Belize is an emerging tourism destination that has yet to be really plugged into the main vein of global air travel. In order to attract more flights, the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) needs to be expanded. Over the next few years, the airport will undergo a $250 million expansion and modernization project as a part of a larger plan to boost tourism. There are already ongoing efforts towards establishing a connection to Europe and according to the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, Hon. Anthony Mahler, “The prospects are promising”. But, what would a European flight mean for Belize?

Belize is an eco-conscious, sustainability-driven, and high-adventure destination. Europe is leading in the eco-conscious travel trend. In 2022, over 80 percent of travellers expressed concern for the environment.  This trend is driven by concerns and preferences for nature-based experiences. Eco-tourists want to explore without damaging the environment and they prefer more authentic interactions within tourism communities. The tenets of the eco-conscious travel trend align with the environmental preservation and sustainable development principles that are at the core of Belize’s tourism industry. These beliefs do not limit us to one type of traveller or one region. In many ways, it is our luxurious eco-conscious, high value-experience package that builds our exclusivity and appeal. Our sustainable tourism is also an element of luxury tourism. The luxury travel market has also evolved over the years. With their purchasing power, luxury travellers are not just looking for expensive accommodations, gourmet meals, and first-class services. These days “luxury” also includes adventure and extreme experiences that create exceptional memories. In 2023, the global luxury travel market was estimated at USD 1.37 trillion. Luxury is about sustainability and the new Four Seasons Resort & Residences in Caye Chapel will reflect that Belize’s tourism offering is both.

The Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts elevate luxury and attract travellers seeking premium experiences. The brand is associated with unparalleled luxury and soon Belize will have one of its own. The new Four Season Resort & Residences in Caye Chapel is set to open in 2025. The company designs its resorts to blend with the natural surroundings. Its Environmental Social, and Governance (ESG) program focuses on preserving the beauty in the places that it operates. This is an investment connection that will expand and build Belize’s high value eco-luxury appeal.

What would a European flight mean for Belize? It would mean being plugged into a new region with boundless potential for attracting new travellers to the Jewel. Europeans are not unfamiliar with luxury and they are leading in the eco-conscious travel trend. Belize is an eco-conscious destination moving towards providing more luxurious experiences for visitors. It seems we have a lot in common; therefore, a European flight would mean a flight in the right direction. Can anyone say “bon voyage”?

Chat again later.

Jasmine Anderson
For the Belize Tourism Board