Belize: Fastest Growing Caribbean Destination in 2024

Belize is the Fastest-Growing Destination in the Caribbean Right Now and the Top-Performing Growth Market in the Region for 2024.

 

Belize is experiencing a Travel BOOM in 2024! International arrivals to Belize are up +30% in 2024. The +30% increase in arrivals in 2024 compared to 2023 – makes Belize the fastest growing destination in the region with the highest tourism growth rate of any destination in the Caribbean.

The analytics firm ForwardKeys, just released its Caribbean travel report for the first half of 2024 (January to June) in partnership with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.

Belize’s growth is faster even than any other destination in the Caribbean region. Belize far outperformed similarly-booming destinations like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, Aruba, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and more.

The 30% growth rate is impressive when you compare it to similar high-growth destinations; Curacao is up 24%, while Aruba has seen arrivals climb by 20%, according to ForwardKeys.

ForwardKeys called the growth for Belize “impressive”, which has seen tourism growth steadily increase since post-pandemic travel relaunched.

For the “First Half of 2024” (Jan-Jun) Belize has been the regions top-performing and fastest growing destination!

 

Belize leads as the regions fastest-growing destination with international arrivals up +30% year-on-year. This is largely driven by the U.S. market, which has made up 69.5% of the overnight tourism arrivals to Belize. A contributing factor to Belize tourism has been connectivity and increased direct routes/flights.

The largest growth market was from New York. Bookings from New York to Belize, which are +91% higher in 2024 than 2023 following the launch of new direct flights in December from JetBlue.

JetBlue New York JFK to Belize 

 

Caribbean Tourism Report and Belize Growth

Belize leads all destinations in tourism growth and international flight capacity from 2023 to 2024. Belize shows impressive growth in the first half of 2024. Belize leads this ranking with international arrivals up +30% year-on-year.

Belize Tourist arrivals are up +30% in 2024, and planned seat capacity for international arrivals is up +43%.

According to the Regional Caribbean Tourism Report “First Half of 2024” (Jan-Jun) from ForwardKeys (the leading travel data and analytics company).

Detailed analysis of travel intelligence data allows destinations to identify and focus on those segments which drive high-value, sustainable travel, from family groups to business travel, to high-spend visitors.

As Caribbean destinations seek tourism growth, the sustainable and long-term approach Belize has taken, has led to improved infrastructure, and increased overall visitor numbers, while still strategically targeting key market segments.

 

Caribbean Travel Trends in 2024

International arrivals to the Caribbean show a +10% year-on-year increase for the first half of 2024 (January to June) – and overall growth of +13% compared to 2019, highlighting how the COVID-19 period propelled destinations in the region to a competitive position. With tickets for international arrivals globally remaining at 16% below pre-pandemic levels, the Caribbean remains a strong performer.

However, the year-on-year growth, while positive, represents a more modest increase compared to the rest of the Americas which exhibits +15% growth over the same period. It is therefore crucial for forward-looking Caribbean destinations to develop strategies to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive travel environment.

 

 

“As the Caribbean seeks to build on its success in the global tourism recovery, a data-based approach to destination promotion and management will be foundational for a sustainable, resilient and profitable future for the region’s tourism sector,” said Olivier Ponti, Director of Intelligence and Marketing at ForwardKeys.

Uncovering the segments which have driven growth in arrivals to Caribbean destinations in 2024 offers valuable lessons for the whole region on how to build a tourism model which delivers long-term benefits to local communities and sustainability, as well as to the traveller.

As Caribbean destinations seek tourism growth, the sustainable and long-term approach Belize has taken, has led to improved infrastructure, and increased overall visitor numbers, while still strategically targeting key market segments.

 

Caribbean Travel & Connectivity

Analysis of detailed air capacity data reveals that connectivity to the Caribbean is showing impressive growth, increasing +13% overall in the first half of 2024 compared to the previous year. Canada is contributing significantly to this success — with an increase in seat capacity of +17% making it the largest origin market currently performing above the global average. Meanwhile the largest origin market overall, the US, tracks global average growth at 13%.

However, Intra-Caribbean connectivity expanded by 20% year-on-year. This is a key enabler of multi-destination trips within the region, with notable increases from Cancun (+78%), Barbados (+56%) and the U.S. Virgin Islands (+50%).

Connectivity from Latin America shows a more moderate increase, with 6% growth in capacity over the same period. Nevertheless, at the country level there is significant growth in key markets. Brazil is the standout origin market with seats to the Caribbean up an impressive +112%, followed by Argentina at +83%.

 

 

The strong growth exhibited in the first half of 2024 — particularly in intra-regional connectivity — is crucial as the Caribbean seeks to attract more multi-destination travellers motivated to explore the diversity of the region’s tourism offer. It also enables regional destinations to target growth in high-value segments such as luxury travellers and family groups, who are more likely to travel to the Caribbean when increased international air capacity offers more flexibility in carrier choice and scheduling.

 

 

Direct Travel & Connectivity

Toronto emerges as the top-performing North American origin city for travel to the Caribbean in the first half of 2024, with arrivals up 23% year-on-year. This growth is supported by a 15% increase in seat capacity between Toronto and the Caribbean, with various airlines increasing the number of available flights.

 

 

In the United States, New York (+13%) also shows sustained growth, as well as key origin markets Dallas (+21%), Miami (+18%), Charlotte (+18%) and Washington D.C. (+18%), demonstrating the ongoing strength of U.S. demand for Caribbean destinations.

Bookings from New York to Belize (BZE), are +91% higher in 2024 than they were in 2023 following the launch of new direct flights in December.
Major hubs such as Dallas, Miami, and Atlanta are also becoming increasingly important for connecting the Caribbean and Belize to U.S. markets, driven by expanded direct capacity to the region.

Direct connectivity between North America and the Caribbean has improved significantly since 2019. In the first six months of 2024, 68% of all arrivals from the U.S. and Canada are flying directly to their Caribbean destination.

32% of arrivals will still connect via at least one hub, highlighting the continued importance of transfer traffic for the region, particularly for accessing secondary destinations and smaller islands with more limited international flight options.

 

 

Belize Ranks Among Top Family Travel Destinations

Another exciting finding in the 2024 Caribbean tourism report was the rankings of top family travel destinations in the region. Belize was the second ranked destination in the region for family travel with a +35% increase. Following only Curaçao which saw a 38% increase.

Curaçao leads as the top-performing destination for family travel, with arrivals up +38%, driven by strong demand from South American markets. Belize ranks 2nd among all destinations in the region with a 35% increase in family travel.

 

Belize outperformed the Caribbean average with a 35% growth in family tourism.  The Caribbean destinations collectively show an increase of +13% year-on-year in the first half of 2024.

 

Latin-America Tourism Growth Opportunity

Latin American travel continues to grow, exceeds 2019 levels.

 

Connectivity from Latin America shows a more moderate increase, with 6% growth in capacity over the same period. Nevertheless, at the country level there is significant growth in key markets. Brazil is the standout origin market with seats to the Caribbean up an impressive +112%, followed by Argentina at +83%.

Latin America is a key emerging source market for the Caribbean, with arrivals in the first half of 2024 showing growth of 17% above 2019 levels and 10% above 2023, confirming the region’s strong growth trajectory. High-yield travellers (+13%) are showing better growth than economy class travellers (+10%), which offers a positive outlook for in-destination spending.

 

At the country level, Ecuador and Colombia are the top performing origin markets, each showing an increase in arrivals of 20% year-on-year. Ecuadorian travellers are driving growth to destinations such as Aruba (+136%) and Curaçao (+70%), whilst Colombian visitors are a main factor in Cuba’s recovery, with arrivals soaring by +221% compared to the same period in 2023.

 

Business travel from Latin America to the Caribbean is also recovering strongly, albeit at a slower pace than leisure travel. Key growth markets for international business travel include Colombia (+46%), Uruguay (+35%) and Mexico (+20%, excluding Cancun), with Curaçao (+26%) the most popular destinations for Latin American corporate travellers overall.

 

 

 

 

Travel Expansion & Tourism Outlook

Information on air connectivity is compiled from ForwardKeys Seat Capacity, which includes information on scheduled direct commercial flights and their seat capacity to the different destinations.

Seating capacity is the number of people who can be seated for travel and overnight tourism arrivals, in terms of the flight routes and number of available seats on each flight.

Overseas travel in the Caribbean region: Tourist arrivals and scheduled seat capacity by destination, H1 2024 vs 2023.

 

 

 

 

Recommended Posts