With parts of the Caribbean still continuing to recover from Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, the Belize Tourism Board is launching a campaign to help travelers to the country aid hurricane recovery throughout the region.
“Fortunately we were spared any impact – we were not even threatened by the storms,” Karen Bevans, director of the Belize Tourism Board, tells Travel Agent. “75 percent of the Caribbean was in fact spared, but the concern we have is that travelers are seeing the Caribbean not as individual countries or islands within the Caribbean.”
To help promote travel, and to aid destinations impacted by the hurricanes, the Belize Tourism Board has launched the Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund campaign. Through November 30, the Belize Tourism Board will donate $1 for every tourist arrival to the Caribbean Tourism Organization to aid hurricane relief efforts. In addition to the tourism board’s donation, every tourism stakeholder in Belize will contribute $1 per visitor they serve as well, creating what Bevans calls a “multiplier effect.”
“Hotels, tour operators, airlines – that dollar will be multiplied so many times, a traveler can earn as much as $10 for this fund, which will be given to impacted countries in the Caribbean to help them rebuild their tourism at an accelerated pace,” Bevans says. “The more you visit, the more we can help – that’s the message of this campaign.”
The campaign comes as Belize is experiencing strong growth in arrivals, as well as opening a number of new hotels.
“2016 was our best year ever in 20 years,” says Bevans. Overnight stays were up 13 percent year over year, while cruise arrivals increased 5 percent, reaching the 1 million passenger mark for the first time. That put Belize among the top five countries in the region with the highest growth in tourism arrivals. The numbers through September of this year remained strong as well, with overnights up 8.6 percent over last year, and cruise arrivals up 3.7 percent.
Looking ahead, The Resort at Mahogany Bay Village, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, is set to open this month, while in December, the Itz’ana Resort & Residences will open its doors. Wyndham is also set to make its debut in the country with the reflagging of the former Venezia del Caribe as the Wyndham Grand Ambergris Caye. That follows the recent opening of the Naia Resort & Spa in the south of the country, as well as Francis Ford Coppola’s Coral Caye.