Belize Fastest Growing Caribbean Destination 2024

Belize is the Fastest-Growing Caribbean Destination

Belize is experiencing a significant travel boom. Based on the travel number for 2024, Belize is the the Fastest-Growing Caribbean Destination.

The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), with lead travel analyst ForwardKeys, released a comprehensive report on Caribbean Tourism.

Surrounded by the tropical Caribbean Sea in Central America, Belize is undergoing “impressive” tourism growth, according to a study carried out by analytics firm ForwardKeys.

So far in 2024, Belize has seen a 30% increase in international tourists. These figures represent the fastest growth rate of any destination in the Caribbean.

 

Belize tourism is up 30% in 2024 (Jan to June). The 30% growth rate is impressive when compared to similar high-growth destinations; Curacao is up 24%, while Aruba has seen arrivals climb by 20%, according to ForwardKeys.

In 2024 (January to June), Belize saw record-breaking tourist arrivals, earning Belize the position as one of the “Fastest-Growing Destinations in the Region.”

 

 

 

Belize has seen faster tourism growth than any other destination in the Caribbean. Belize far outperformed similarly booming destinations like Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and more.

Belize saw a 30% increase in arrivals for the first half of 2024. The 30% growth rate in Belize is impressive when compared to similar high-growth destinations; Curacao is up 24%, and Aruba is up 20%.

 

 

ForwardKeys called Belize’s growth “impressive.” The country has seen tourism growth steadily increase since post-pandemic travel relaunched.

Belize tourism and overnight arrivals, has had a record-breaking year. Belize saw a 30% increase in 2024 (January through June) compared to 2023. Belize also had an increase of 17.5% in tourism arrivals from the benchmark tourism of 2019 (compared to the same timeframe before the pandemic).

 

Belize Stands Out in 2024

In 2024 (January to June), Belize saw record-breaking tourist arrivals, earning Belize the position as one of the “Fastest-Growing Destinations in the Region.”

According to ForwardKeys, Belize has so far seen a 30% increase in arrivals for the first half of 2024 (compared to the same period in 2023). Belize was listed as the Fastest Growing Destination.

In 2024 (January to June), Belize saw record-breaking tourist arrivals, earning Belize the position as one of the “Fastest-Growing Destinations in the Region.” Belize saw a 30% increase in arrivals for the first half of 2024. The 30% growth rate in Belize is impressive when compared to similar high-growth destinations; Curacao is up 24%, and Aruba is up 20%. Belize is the Fastest-Growing Destination in 2024.

 

 

Belize Tourism 2024

Belize is listed as the fastest-growing mid-tier destination.

Mid-tier Caribbean destinations show impressive growth in the first half of 2024. Belize leads this ranking with international arrivals up +30% year-on-year. This is again driven by the U.S. market, in this case primarily due to bookings from New York, which are +91% higher than 2023 following the launch of new direct flights in December.

 

 

Key Factors for Growth

The ForwardKeys report also included stats on all the Caribbean markets and the factors driving regional and destination growth.

  • Increased Family Travel. Belize was the second-ranked destination in the region for family travel, with a +35% increase, following only Curaçao, which saw a 38% increase.
  • An Increase in Latin American visitors (Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina in particular).
  • An increase in travelers visiting the Caribbean to attend carnivals and festivals.

 

 

Top Family-Travel Destinations

Belize ranks 2nd among all destinations in the region, with a 35% increase in family travel.

Increased Family Travel. Belize was the second-ranked destination in the region for family travel, with a +35% increase, following only Curaçao, which saw a 38% increase.

 

 

 

Caribbean Destination Tourism & Seat Capacity

ForwardKeys Seat Capacity includes information on scheduled direct flights and their seat capacity to the different destinations.

Airline capacity reflects the planned total seat capacity airlines expect to offer. Change in seat capacity is a reflection of the supply and demand for a destination.

 

 

Caribbean vs Global Travel

Caribbean is the top growth tourism region since 2019. Belize is one of the fastest growing destination in the Caribbean region!

The Caribbean is recognized as the most tourism-dependent region in the world, with tourism serving as the largest economic contributor for many nations within the area.

 

 

Caribbean Travel 2024 vs 2023

The Caribbean is up 13% in 2024 compared to the year prior (2023 from Jan to June). Caribbean travel is 10% higher in 2024 than pre-COVID levels of 2019.

Belize tourism is up 30% in 2024 compared to the year prior (2023 from Jan to June). Belize travel is 19% higher in 2024 than pre-COVID levels of 2019.

 

Caribbean Travel 2024 vs 2019

Caribbean tourism is up 10% from 2019. Belize tourism is up 17.5% from 2019. Which is a strong indicator of the regions tourism rebound.

 

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%.

Intra-Caribbean connectivity expanded by 20% year-on-year. This is a key enabler of multi-destination trips within the region.

 

The strong growth exhibited in tourism for 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.

 

 

North American Travel to Caribbean

For the Caribbean, only the US market has fully recovered or exceeded 2019 levels, while the recovery rates of arrivals from Europe reached 88.2%, and Canada reached 88.1%, of 2019 tourism respectively. Caribbean travel from the US is up 12.6% from 2019.

 

 

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.

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 connecting flight.

Increased connectivity from North American hubs expands the Caribbean and Belize’s reach into other U.S. and Canadian markets, attracting new travellers who can now reach the region’s destinations with just one stop.

 

 

Latin America Travel to Caribbean

The BTB (Belize Tourism Board) shared strategies being implemented to introduce Belize to Latin American travelers—a strategic move considering that Latin American travel within the region continues to grow. According to Forward Keys, Colombia and Brazil are the top-performing Latin American markets for Caribbean travel.

With Latin America seeing an emerging middle class, which has increasing disposable income that has led to a surge in outbound tourism.

Latin American region, boasting a population of over 650 million people and a combined GDP of over $5 trillion.

 

 

Latin America is a key emerging source market for Caribbean tourism.

The Latin America travel and tourism market is projected to expand significantly between 2024 to 2028, with its size anticipated to increase from USD $49.50 billion in 2023 to USD $64.42 billion by 2028 (Mordor Intelligence).

 

“Through our air ticketing data, we are observing a significant leap from the Latin Markets into the Caribbean, especially from Central America, Colombia, and Argentina. Even more encouraging is that they are flying in premium-class cabins, more than before the pandemic. A worthy market to tap into,” says Olivier Ponti, VP of Insights at ForwardKeys.

 

“Moreover, LATAM countries have been boosting capacity to the Caribbean. Colombia (+157%), Brazil (+187%), Mexico (+55%), and Peru (+13%) all are showing strong growths and audiences interested in a Caribbean holiday,” says Juan A. Gomez, Head of Market Intelligence at ForwardKeys.

 

 

 

 

 

Belize and Caribbean Tourism Investment

The Caribbean region has shown tremendous growth and tourism recovery throughout the years. Destinations like Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Belize are seeing an impressive increase in tourism arrivals.

Belize is experiencing a significant travel boom. International arrivals to Belize have surged by 30% in the first half of 2024 (January to June), with air arrivals showing the same impressive growth rate compared to 2023. This makes Belize the fastest-growing destination in the Caribbean.

Unlike many international beach destinations, Belize is an English-speaking country to makes the vacation experience for travelers even smoother. This also makes investing in Belize much easier as well, as Belize has full foreign ownership.

If you are looking to invest in Belize or purchase Belize real estate contact RE/MAX Belize!

 

 

 

Ambergris Caye Investment & Vacation Rental Data October 2023

Ambergris Caye Vacation Rentals

Ambergris Caye has been the epicenter of the Belize tourism surge and COVID recovery. This has led to growth in the Ambergris Caye Real Estate and investment in vacation rentals.

Ambergris Caye luckily has something we like to call “Island Economics.” When investing in an island, there is only so much land available. The limitations on available land create scarcity, not only scarcity of property but also a scarcity of land and completed resale homes. There is only so much land on an island. Island economics means that you see greater property appreciation on an island due to scarcity of property and limitations on how much can be built.

Tourism growth, increased awareness, offshore residency, and improved connectivity have all led to higher investment yields on vacation rental properties on Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye and San Pedro Town (the municipality on the island of Ambergris Caye) are by far the top destinations in Belize. Below, we look at the updated tourism data and vacation rental investment opportunities on Ambergris Caye!

 

Ambergris Caye Tourism

Ambergris Caye has seen tourism hitting all-time highs year-over-year as we become a globally recognized destination. From 2010 to 2023 (13 years), Ambergris Caye overnight tourism (people booking rental units) has grown at an annual compounded rate of 14.8% per year increase, with overnight tourism nearly doubling from 2010 to 2023 (+81.5% increase).

 

Belize Overnight Tourism

 

 

Belize Tourism Board Overnight Arrivals

 

Ambergris Caye Vacation Rental Inventory

Even though tourism is growing, the total rooms for rentals have stayed stagnant, with limited new losing inventory and often even a decline in inventory. Tourism is growing, and this usually correlates to added supply; that said, Ambergris Caye, Belize, is at the perfect time for investment as we have unique market conditions that have led to increased demand and a decrease in supply inventory.

Rental Inventory on Ambergris Caye has dropped by -4% from 2022 to 2023. Also dropped -13.9% over the last 3 years. This is largely due to the influx of people moving to Belize and the growing expat community and people who can work remotely.

 

Ambergris Caye Vacation Rental Lodging Inventory

 

For lodging, as a point of reference, Ambergris Caye saw -4% from last year. Lodging inventory for vacation rentals on Ambergris Caye has seen a -13.9% decrease over the last 3 years.

Ambergris Caye has had a compounded annual tourism growth over 12 years at an average of 14.8% per year.

As you can see, the 3-year trend has been consistent, with many quarters witnessing a dip in rental inventory (even with an increase in demand). This creates a unique opportunity for investors. With the shortage in supply and increase in demand, there is a need for more lodging and rentals.

 

Increase in Demand + Decrease in Supply = Increase in Price & Rent

 

 

 

 

 

Many industry experts predict Ambergris Caye real estate prices and nightly rental rates will continue to increase. This will lead to greater equity appreciation and a higher cash-flow yield.

Even though demand is on the rise, the supply has remained stagnant. With increased awareness comes increased demand, but the lodging and vacation rental inventory supply does not meet the demand growth.

 

Ambergris Caye Occupancy

 

 

In 2022, Ambergris Caye had an average vacation rental occupancy of 54.8%. In 2023, the average occupancy of vacation rentals has been at 61.3%. This is an increase of +11.9% year-over-year (2022 to 2023).

 

 

Ambergris Caye Nightly Rental Rates

 

In 2023, Ambergris Caye has seen ADR (Nightly Rental Rates) for vacation rentals increase by +15% from 2022. In 2023, the average nightly rental rate on Ambergris Caye has been $284 USD per night, which is up from $262 USD per night in 2022.

 

Ambergris Caye Investment Revenue

The increase in tourism with the lodging and vacation rental supply shrinking has led to higher occupancy and higher nightly rental rates (ADR). The increased occupancy and ADR have resulted in higher revenues. On Ambergris Caye, vacation rental gross revenue is up 30% in 2023 (from 2022).

 

Annual Average Rental Revenue

 

 

What is fascinating is the renal income for detached homes over condos (and the % annual growth).

 

Detached homes on Ambergris Caye have seen an average annual gross revenue of $88,850 US in 2023 (Airbnb income). Compared to condos, which saw an average gross yearly earnings of $44,300 US. Detached homes also saw a higher % growth at 23% annual revenue growth (condos with 14%) from 2022 to 2023.

For more information on investing in Belize and Ambergris Caye rental income investment opportunities, contact us at RE/MAX Belize!

 

Ambergris Caye Real Estate Investment, Tourism & Rental Market

Ambergris Caye Real Estate Investment

Ambergris Caye Real Estate is a hot commodity for both personal use and investment. The investment potential and upside look even more attractive when you look at the year-over-year tourism data and how it correlates to the rental/lodging inventory on the island. Ambergris Caye is the top destination in Belize. Even though tourism has grown, rental inventory has not. This creates a unique investment opportunity. Learn more with the data points and market analysis below;

 

Ambergris Caye Tourism & Rental Inventory Data Points

Even though tourism is growing and we have seen Belize tourism rebound in 2022 to pre-COVID numbers, the total rooms for rentals have stayed stagnant with almost no new inventory and often even a decline in inventory. Tourism pre-COVID grew by over 60% in 5 years (over double-digit annual growth of 14.6%) but lodging and inventory stayed the same. Even now, rental inventory saw a -5% decrease in Q4 2022.

Rental Inventory: A decrease of -5% in Q4 2022

Below you can see the lodging and rental inventory on Ambergris Caye over the last 3 years;

 

Ambergris Caye Lodging Inventory

Ambergris Caye saw -2% in Q2 2022, -1% in Q3 2022, and -5% in Q4 2022. With a -20% decrease over 3 years.

For lodging, as a point of reference, Ambergris Caye saw -2% in Q3 2022, -1% in Q4 2022, and -5% in Q1 2023. So compounded tourism growth over 12 years at an average of 14.6%.

As you can see, the 3-year trend has been consistent with many quarters seeing a dip in rental inventory (even with an increase in demand). Over the last 3-years, lodging/rental inventory on Ambergris Caye decreased by 20%. This creates a unique opportunity for investors. With the shortage in supply and increase in demand, there is a need for more lodging and rentals.

The reason you see a lodging or rental inventory decline is due to the fact people are moving to Belize and we are seeing an exodus of people (especially Baby Boomers retiring abroad).

 

Market Comparison

What is interesting is comparing it to other markets. Tulum for example;

Tulum in comparison saw a +6% increase in Q4 2022 and +8% in Q1 2023. With a 47% increase over a full year. And an 88% increase over the last 3 years.

You can see other comparable off-shore markets and their lodging inventory below;

Tamarindo Costa Rica for example saw a +6% increase in Q4 2022 With a +23% increase over 3 years.

 

Turks & Caicos is a Caribbean island like Ambergris Caye. Turks & Caicos saw a +11% increase in Q4 2022 with a +76% increase over 3 years.

 

Panama City as another example and comparison saw a +4% increase in Q4 2022 with a +26% increase over 3 years.

 

All of the above locations are popular tourist destinations (Ambergris Caye, Tulum, Tamarindo, Panama, and Turks & Caicos) and have all seen substantial growth in tourism numbers. That said, very few places have seen a tourism boom without an increase in inventory. Because of this, Ambergris Caye has an A+ Rating based on AirBNB criteria of Rental Demand, Rental Growth, Seasonality & Regulations.

 

 

Ambergris Caye Real Estate Investment

Prior to 2020, Ambergris Caye lodging remained stagnant over the years even with tourism growing. Even though Tourism is increasing, rental inventory has decreased by 5% and has remained fairly stagnant over 3 years. You can see the inventory vs the tourism for Ambergris Caye from 2015 to 2019 below;

The number of hotel rooms and lodging inventory for rentals has not seen the same growth and is not meeting the tourism demand.

Therefore, many industry experts predict Ambergris Caye real estate prices and nightly rental rates will continue to increase. This will lead to greater equity appreciation and a higher cash-flow yield.

Even though demand is on the rise, the supply has remained stagnant. With increased awareness comes increased demand but the lodging and vacation rental inventory supply do not meet the demand growth.

 

Ambergris Caye Investment Opportunity

To give you an idea of the growth and opportunity with Ambergris Caye Real Estate you have to look at the population and tourism growth statistics. Ambergris Caye (as of 2015) had an estimated population of approximately 16,444 people. Since then the population has grown with an even higher volume of foreigners moving to Ambergris Caye. Over the last 5 years, Ambergris Caye has seen a population growth rate of around 8% per year, and in the previous 10 years, prior Ambergris Caye experienced an annual population growth rate of roughly 17%.

It is also estimated that up to 25% more people reside on Ambergris Caye on a part-time basis (vacation or winter homes). Ambergris Caye as a destination for tourism has experienced incredible growth over the last 5 to 15 years. From 2017 to 2022 (the same 5 years) Ambergris Caye has seen tourism grow at a rate of 14.6% per year (over double-digit annual growth).

When you factor in the population growth and the influx of new residents with the growth in tourism, you really start to see the opportunity. As it stands right now, there is not enough vacation or long-term rental inventory to support the growth in tourism and the growing population.

The reason you see a lodging or rental inventory decline is due to the fact people are moving to Belize and we are seeing an exodus of people (especially Baby Boomers retiring abroad).

Ambergris Caye is an island with limited supply. Even though the supply is limited, the demand has skyrocketed over recent years with more-and-more tourists visiting Belie. In 2019, Belize saw over 500,000 overnight tourists, most of which visited Ambergris Caye. These overnight tourism arrivals grew by 60% from 2015 to 2020. With 70-75% of overnight tourists who visit Belize heading straight to San Pedro and Ambergris Caye.

Since 2010 has had an average tourism growth rate of 14.6% annually. That 14.6% growth each year. So compounded tourism growth over 12 years at an average of 14.6%.

The number of hotel rooms and lodging inventory for rentals has not seen the same growth and is not meeting the tourism demand. What is being developed on Ambergris Caye in the next five years will not be able to sustain the increasing tourism demand. Therefore, many industry experts predict Ambergris Caye real estate prices and nightly rental rates will continue to increase. This will lead to greater equity appreciation and a higher cash-flow yield.

Even though demand is on the rise, the supply has remained stagnant. With increased awareness comes increased demand but the lodging and vacation rental inventory supply do not meet the demand growth.

Ambergris Caye luckily has something we like to call “Island Economics”. When investing in an island there is only so much land available. The limitations on available land create scarcity, not only scarcity of property but also a scarcity of land and completed resale homes. There is only so much land on an island. Island economics means that you see greater property appreciation on an island due to scarcity of property and limitations on how much can be built.

Areas and destinations along the Yucatan Peninsula or other areas with nearly endless developable land eventually have an over-supply that is caused by the fact there is nearly unlimited room for development. Investors rarely see the same equity appreciation they see when they invest on an island. One of the difficulties of investing in a property that has nearly endless room for growth is the fact that developers continue to build, so real estate investors don’t see the same level of appreciation that they see on an island, where the availability of land is limited.

This is basic economics, Ambergris Caye has higher demand and less supply. Mainland destinations in Central America have less demand and nearly unlimited supply. On Ambergris Caye, you have far more amenities (with the reef 400 yards off the coast), with beaches on the East & West Coast.

The reason so many investors choose Ambergris Caye over mainland Belize destinations is largely due to the growth and investment potential. Ambergris Caye is the #1 tourist destination in Belize by a large margin. It also delivers the highest Average Daily Room Rate for an income property. It is also important to note that as an investor, you will have much higher margins, as resale properties on the island sell have more demand and higher returns on investment.

Belize’s tourism has over tripled since 2010, as it has grown by 208%. In 2022, over 11 months (January to November) Belize had a total of 362,628 overnight tourists. That is 81% of the pre-COVID inbound tourism numbers. This shows strong tourism recovery for Belize and Ambergris Caye.

 

 

Belize 2022 Tourism

When you factor in the population growth and the influx of new residents with the growth in tourism, you really start to see the opportunity. As it stands right now, there is not enough vacation or long-term rental inventory on Ambergris Caye to support the growth in tourism and the growing population.

For more information on Belize Real Estate & Investing in Belize contact Remax Belize!