The BTIA a broad-based tourism umbrella organization that seeks to bring together tourism related interests to meet the challenges of a dynamic and growing tourism industry in Belize.

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Message from the President

There is virtually no argument in Belizean society about the importance of tourism to the country’s economy. 40 percent of GDP is the standard figure used but many estimates put that figure as high as 50%, especially when considering the chronic setbacks in agriculture, particularly citrus, bananas and shrimp. Yes, world sugar prices are high right now but given the serious disputes between the sugar refiner and cane farmers the long term outlook for sugar is cloudy at best.

What does BTIA do? It happens more often that you’d think. I will be introduced to someone as President of the Belize Tourism Industry Association and the first question I’m asked is “just what does BTIA do?” At first I’m taken aback but then realize that it’s a pretty good question. I know that a significant portion of my day is taken up with BTIA matters but have never really stopped to break down exactly what it is that our organization

Statistical and anecdotal evidence continues to point to a strong recovery for Belize’s Tourism Industry. While the outlook for the rest of the summer and fall—our traditionally slowest time of the year—is not likely to reach last year’s “revenge travel”-inspired levels the general consensus is that late November and beyond will see both hotel occupancy and overall tourism revenues return to at least 2019 levels.

There is no shortage of good news in the tourism industry and I’d like to share some of it with our BTIA members. Visitor arrivals are gradually returning to 2019 levels and individual visitor spending has increased significantly over pre-pandemic levels. Part of the reason is the much discussed “pent up demand for travel” as well as the general increase in upscale accommodations and more exotic activities. This means that even with fewer tourists more money is being spent on

Our experience with the concept of human nature tells us that as a species we tend to have short memories. Case in point: for at least a year-and-a half our industry suffered the most devastating blow in its history. Today, barely two years from the shutdown of our borders, massive layoffs and millions of dollars in losses, the buzz among tourism stakeholders is how strong the recent recovery has been and what new investments we will be making in the

Every country in the world—as well as their many states, provinces and municipalities—has been forced over the last two years to deal with the creation and implementation of policies to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. If you can name a country that has done it right please let me know, because every time the press has hailed a country that has the magic formula—Israel! Sweden! China! Canada!—the euphoria turns to horror as the statistics rise or human rights evaporate.

Dear BTIA Member/Industry Stakeholder: Is it possible that a full year has passed since BTIA’s last Annual General meeting? Whether you feel like the last twelve months would never end or that the period just Zoomed by (pun intended), there are few of us who are nostalgic for the “good old days” of 2021. For our Covid-19 ravaged industry it was a time of lost high season followed by a hopeful summer of pent-up travel demand and a peak Christmas season

Dear BTIA Members, Instead of the usual President’s letter I would like to share the words of a stalwart of the tourism industry. Many of you know Tony Rath or at least know his work through his company, Naturalight. Over the last forty years few people have done more to promote the nation’s tourism and conservation of Belize’s natural resources than Tony. In the short essay below—originally posted on Facebook-- he turns his attention to an issue that dwarfs all others

Dear BTIA Members, It is now a year and five months since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in Belize. In the period beginning March 2020 we in the tourism industry have experienced a devastating period of lockdown, complete border closure, airport reopening, painfully slow initial recovery followed by a much more rapid recovery as vaccinations were introduced in the USA and pent up demand for travel took hold with a vengeance in late May and summer. At the same time internally