The Right Slice of A Pie
elize’s main source markets for potential travellers include North America, South America, and Europe. You might call those three large pies to cut a slice from. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) strategizes by going after niche markets. In tourism, a niche is a segment of a larger market that is categorized based on the needs, preferences, identity, and particular interests of its members. These segments are recognized, researched, and targeted from among the market at large. For example, some niche markets that Belize targets include romance, family, fly fishing, birding, honeymooners, extreme adventurer, and diving. The BTB targets these specific corner markets through highly focused forms of advertisement that are meant to generate customer loyalty. Niche does not always mean small- in this case it means specific. In this case, niche means we go after the groups whose interests are most aligned with our tourism product. Belize has about 36% reserve terrain and 608,740 acres of marine reserves. That makes us a significant conservation body within the Mesoamerican ecosystem. Our biodiversity is one of a main tourist attraction for Belize. North America, South America, and Europe are entire continents that the BTB strategically pulls apart in order to cut the right slices that are best suited for our tourism.
It was expected that when global tourism recovered, small countries like Belize might have a tougher time recovering. The Caribbean and Belize’s economy dipped significantly when the tourism industry flatlined and regionally it was expected that recovery would take several years. For us, it was not only a question of when would tourists return but also, which demographic would come? What would they be looking for? Would Belize be ready to serve them? Since January, we know already that they have returned and continue to come in. Last month, the BTB was pleased to announce that Belize’s Tourism industry has recovered and is poised for further growth in 2023. The latest statistics show that overnight and cruise ship tourists’ arrivals are up. Last year, 370,524 overnight tourist arrivals were registered representing 69.2% growth over the previous year. In 2022, there was over 40 cruise ship calls on Belizean ports in December and 615,021 cruise tourism arrivals registered. As we move into full recovery and more development, it is worth noting some of the major changes about travellers today and the reason they choose to travel. For example, the focus on mental health during the pandemic created space for wellness travelling. More people started to travel alone to focus on self-growth. Others made sure to learn about and appreciate the places they visited after pandemic lock-down. Countries changed, global tourism changed, and travellers changed. It is no surprise the new niche markets also evolved while others may have disappeared.
Resuscitated now, Belize’s tourism continues to grow. Our industry’s Grab Life 2.0 campaign helped to position the country as an adventure’s paradise. What we have to offer is specific; therefore, the BTB must specifically target key niche markets. This week we highlight revivalism. In tourism we depend on the tendency to revive former custom or practice in travelling. Though they may have different reasons, people are travelling again. In North America, South America, and Europe we target special markets for our special tourism product.
See you next week.
The Belize Tourism Board