Surge in Caribbean Tourism Gives a Boost to Ambergris Caye, Belize

Caribbean Travel

Historically, travel was a luxury good. In the 1950s, international arrivals worldwide totaled just 25 million. But today, with the rising middle class and more disposable income, travel is more accessible than it has ever been. At the end of 2015, the number of international arrivals surpassed 1.2 billion.

Tourists today have more and more destination choices thanks to the advancement of the tourism industry globally, but in particular, the Caribbean holds a stronger appeal than ever. The year of 2017 marked the seventh straight year of tourism growth in the Caribbean. In 2015, the Caribbean as a region experienced an unprecedented tourism growth of 7%, outperforming every other tourism region on the planet! Then in 2016, the same metric hit a benchmark of 29 million tourists for the first time. (source: Caribbean Tourism Organization.)

Belize Tourism Boom

Meanwhile in Belize, we welcomed over 44,000 overnight visitors in March of 2017, the first month in history to EVER do so! In fact, January – June of 2017 welcomed more tourists than that time period in 2016, and the same is true for 2015. Experts predict continued robust growth for 2017 and into 2018, due to the strong dollar and relatively low fuel prices in the US. Take a look at the visuals below to see the year after year growth of international arrivals in Belize.

March of 2017 proved to be a benchmark in Belize tourism, the country welcomed over 44,000 arrivals in one month, the most in one single month ever recorded!

In Belize, November through April are considered "high season," while May through October are "low season." Many residents of Ambergris Caye report seeing less and less of a difference between high and low season with the tourism boom.

So, what is it about the Caribbean? The relaxed lifestyle, friendly locals, warm turquoise sea, maybe that token piña colada? Sure, those things are nice — but how about having your piña colada and drinking it too? (Get it?)

Our investor friends, The Real Estate Guys ,say “live where you want to live, but invest where the numbers make sense” — well what if those places collided and the result was a lifestyle that enjoyed both? What if you could own luxury real estate that generates nightly rental income? What if you could use your tropical getaway part-time to create memories of a lifetime for you and your family? 

Visit us in Belize to learn about how you can benefit from the surge in tourism, in a real estate market that is still in its infancy. Make the Caribbean a bigger part of your life than just a week’s vacation!

Mahogany Bay Village and Coastal Living have teamed up to bring you the Coastal Living Lifestyle Trip to Ambergris Caye, where you can test the waters on a fun 4 day / 3 night real estate weekend to see if Belize is the right place for your next home.

Life & Retirement in the Caribbean

Although many are flocking to the Caribbean for vacation, there is also a surge in relocation and retirement to this stunning area of the world. Approximately 10,000 baby boomers per day began their retirement in 2011, and the same number will continue to retire every day until 2029! Where are they all going? For us in the Americas, the Caribbean is the no-brainer for vacation, relocation, and retirement. In fact, half of all Caribbean tourists are American. With more numerous air connections and competition resulting in lower airfare, as well as convenient proximity to the U.S., same time zones, and generally cheaper costs of living, it’s no wonder the tropics are filling up with sun-seekers to enjoy their golden years.

On the hot list of prime Caribbean tourist destinations are Belize, Turks & Caicos, and the Cayman Islands. Each of these countries has retained a top spot in recent years as one of the fastest-growing tourism markets, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Though, a week-long vacation is one thing, while a place to make a new home requires a whole different set of attributes. When it comes to cost of living and friendly locals, Belize has the competition beat. The cost of living is still quite affordable compared to most other Caribbean retirement spots; and Belize scored a 98/100 on the category of "Fitting In" in the 2016 International Living Retirement Index! 

Belize is much more than just a paradisiacal weekend island escape. The small country has not only warm turquoise water and amazing diving & fishing, but historic ancient Maya ruins, jungle, waterfalls, and even underground rivers and cave systems. Belize is a place where you can live for YEARS and still have lots to explore. Did you know there are over 200 cayes off the coast of Belize — most of which are uninhabited! Yes, 200.

The great majority of travelers (70%+) who venture to Belize head directly to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The island of Ambergris Caye boasts Belize's largest expat community, incredible cuisine, the friendliest of locals, and postcard perfect water. Did we mention the reef? The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world, and it lies just a half mile offshore of Ambergris Caye. Snorkelers, free divers, and scuba and cave divers can spend days discovering the underwater world and the huge variety of species that it supports. Think, morning swims amongst grazing sea turtles and spotted eagle rays, and evening moon gazing to the sound of chirping geckos and the Caribbean Sea gently lapping ashore.

If you are looking for a whole new lifestyle, or simply a smart vacation home in paradise, join us on a weekend of discovery in Belize. For more information on retiring to Belize, please see one of our previous blog posts, Belize Remains a Top Caribbean Retirement Hotspot in 2017.

Laura Balis