The secret is out: Belize is the next big thing in travel. Our green jewel was the fastest growing Caribbean destination in 2016, boasting a massive 16.9% increase in overnight tourists from the previous year as more people journey to experience the beauty of our wild country.
From Leonardo DiCaprio to Hilton Hotels to our favorite Canadian airline, it seems that everyone has set their sights on Belize in 2017.
As we look forward to our own resort opening in just a few months time, all these new developments are adding fuel to our passion for this gorgeous place.
We're thrilled to welcome even more of our friends from the Great White North in 2017! WestJet began flying direct from Toronto a few weeks ago - just in time for winter. They join Southwest, who sent 30,000 people to Belize in their first year of operation, as well as American, United, Delta, and US Airways on the growing list of carriers offering direct flights to our sunny shores.
Many of them are planning on adding new cities in 2017 (looking at you, Denver!) to get you even closer to a Belizean getaway.
The Big Boys Arrive
The pull of Belize is proving too great for anyone to resist. Hilton announced this summer that they'll be the first hotel chain to buy in to the vision of Belize. And word in the jungle is they won't be the only ones hoping to snap up a bit of paradise for their portfolios. The number of hotel rooms have increased more than 20% since 2015, and our projections don't show this growth stopping anytime soon.
Leo's Eco-Friendly Beauty
Just last month designs for Leonardo DiCaprio's eco-resort, Blackadore Caye, were finally released. We're thrilled to have a visionary environmentalist like Mr. DiCaprio working to help raise the profile of the amazing environmental initiatives that Belizeans are putting together, as well as leading the way with renewable energy and protection of native species. It's wonderful to have him with us.
And we didn't even mention the new Harvest Caye port for Norwegian Cruises, golf legend Greg Norman's design for Caye Chapel's golf course, and rumor has it, JetBlue will be joining their competitors with direct flights to Belize in 2017. There's a lot happening in our slice of heaven!
And of course Placencia is at the heart of this boom. With more overnight visitors in 2016 than in any previous year, our beautiful village is on track to be the Caribbean's next "it destination." The New York Post just named Itz'ana one of "The World's Hottest New Hotels" opening in 2017 alongside the Four Seasons, Aman Resorts, Auberge Resorts and many more epic destination hotels.
With NAIA Resorts opening this year and Itz'ana next year, the boutique feel of Placencia is sure to capture the imagination of more early explorers.
It's a great feeling to enter the new year with the wind at our backs and so many wonderful people and brands working alongside us to make the future of Belize merry and bright. So, will you be joining us in 2017?