Traveling and becoming expatriated are two of the fastest growing trends the whole world over. As more and more folks find and create professions that either require no permanent placement or thrive on foreign vibes, people are vacationing and moving abroad at astonishing rates.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, more than one billion travelers stood in line at airports on their way to different international destinations last year. In 2016, the organization predicts an increase of an additional four percent with the Americas topping the list of countries to be visited.
Belize is one spot that Northern Hemispherers are favoring strongly for relocation and vacation alike. Americans, Europeans, and Canadians—in that order— hold the highest scores for flocking to its sunny shores. The lush jungles, beautiful beaches, sapphire sea, pristine reef, and friendly locals make the nation a perfect place for those searching to escape home for a short while, as well as enterprising entrepreneurs or the retiring adventurer-seeker.
With the recently sustained 15-month (June 2015 - September 2016) spike in its visitor stats, Belize has become one of the best choices for savvy sun-chasers to find a new lifestyle among tropical isles. Some months have seen as much as a 33% increase in overnight arrivals over the same time in previous years.
As of the end of September, 2016 has seen nearly 300,000 foreigners frequent the idyllic little Latin country, accounting for a 16.4% increase from the same period last year. Cruise arrivals alone have resulted in nearly 55,000 visitors thus far this year, despite the fact that 12 fewer vessels came into the country (inclusive of those canceled due to Hurricane Earl).
Aiding this increase in numbers are airlines offering direct flights from major cities around the world. WestJet, a Canadian airline, will soon join the growing roster, traveling straight from Toronto to Belize beginning October 29, 2016.
Airlines operating from the United States include American Airlines with direct flights from Miami (MIA), Charlotte (CLT), Dallas (DFW), and Los Angeles (LAX). Delta, from Los Angeles (LAX) and Atlanta (ATL). Southwest, from Houston (HOU) and Denver (DEN). And United, from Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR), and Chicago (ORD).
Many Latin destinations are also in on the fun with Avianca offering service straight from San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL). Copa Airlines provides flights directly from Panama City, Panama (PTY). And Tropic Air—Belize’s own international airline—flies directly from Cancun (CUN) and Merida, Mexico (MID), Roatan, Roatan (RTB), San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAB), and Flores, Guatemala (FRS).
Overall, it’s easy to see how the influx of interest can be beneficial for everyone. Competitive pricing on all things travel-related create opportunities for endless exploration of new places and cultures, and they boost local economies for native people and expatriates alike who depend on the tourism industry to make a living.
Bars, restaurants, coffee shops, water sports, art of all kinds, and many more opportunities exist to experience the elusive dream of life in another land.