BELIZE CITY, Belize, November 13, 2017 (CMC) – The Belize Tourist Board (BTB) says Canadian low-cost carrier, WestJet, has begun a new, non-stop, weekly service between Calgary and Belize, a move that will boost the tourism industry.
BTB said a brief inaugural ceremony was recently held at the departure lounge of the Philip Goldson International Airport to commemorate WestJet’s new service.
According to WestJet, the service is part of the airline’s seasonal schedule for the winter of 2017-18.
BTB said the ceremony was attended by representatives of the Belize Hotel Association, senior staff of the Belize Airport Concession Company (BACC), the Canadian Consulate to Belize and the Belize Tourism Board, among others.
Short addresses were delivered by Lynn Young, Honorary Consul of Canada to Belize, and Manuel Heredia, Belize’s Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation.
“The importance of the Canadian market for Belize can certainly not be overstated, in terms of the overall economic impact it has on Belize’s Tourism Industry,” Heredia said, stating that Canadian arrivals to Belize accounted for 6 percent of total overnight arrivals in Belize in 2016.
“That percentage share is expected to rise this year with the increased traffic from the direct flights from Canada to Belize, introduced in the latter part of last year and, of course, with the start of this new flight,” he added.
BTB said most Canadians prefer to travel to Belize “to enjoy the tropical weather that Belize has to offer”.
“But they also enjoy the warm hospitality of all Belizeans, and the country’s awesome culture and excellent cuisine and attractions,” it added.
According to BTB’s Director of Tourism, Karen Bevans, the new flight “will help with the different areas such as Vancouver and the others that were unable to get a direct connection into Toronto”.
“So, this makes it much more convenient for a large market in Canada and to open up the opportunities for Belize even more,” she said. “We expect that the size of the Canadian market will only continue to increase and, hopefully, we can expect at least 10 percent of our arrivals with the addition of this flight.
“As we heard the Honorary Consul mention, more and more students are now approaching him about the Canadian market or schools in Canada, and that population has grown,” Bevans added. “And we expect that to happen even more because this gives more accessibility, cheaper cost. So, it does create more opportunity for our Belizean people.”
BTB said WestJet inaugurated its first flight from Toronto, Canada to Belize in 2016.
“The new WestJet service to Belize from Calgary, therefore, represents a resounding confirmation that Belize continues to be a growing, viable and a must-visit destination in Central America and the Caribbean,” BTB said.