Southwest Airlines now flies to Belize!

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES NOW FLIES TO BELIZE!

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Southwest Airlines now flies to Belize!

Tourism in Belize is skyrocketing. September and October are historically the slowest two months of the year for this tiny Central American/Western Caribbean country, but the Belize Tourism Board announced yesterday that September saw a 19.3% increase in over night arrivals in September alone!!!!! As reported by www.ambergristoday.com: September alone saw a 19.3% increase in overnight tourism and the new flight is expected to further increase this number. Travelers to Belize on the airline are excited about the “Southwest Effect”, as James Ashworth, Managing Director of Customer Support and Services at Southwest Airlines describes that when the airline enters a market they bring fares down by approximately 30%, they have no bag fees, no change fees and they provide world-class customer service. It is a great product to a great market.

southwest1As the broker for Belize Shores Realty I can contest to the fact that our inquiries are skyrocketing along with these numbers. It used to be common to receive 1-3 inquiries on Commercial properties per week but for the last few months we have averaged 2-5 inquires per day! Whether the reason for this is that Americans are getting continuously more restless with the government situation or just that Belize is so close and so economical to own property remains to be seen but whatever the reason, it certainly is welcomed!

The arrival of the first Southwest flight is sparking new energy in to all businesses that rely on tourism, real estate included. The biggest single complaint that Belize has received was that it was just expensive to travel. Our historical tourism didn’t equate to low fares like Cancun did, but now, especially after receiving the award for Mexico & Central America’s Leading Destination 2015 is Ambergris Caye Belize deserves to be treated like the tourism and investment hot spot it is!

Check out our commercial properties for sale and see what we have to offer you.

 

Next Month’s BETEX Event Showcases Belize Tourism

Belize is a relatively small country, only slightly larger than the state of Massachusetts and with a population of around 330,000. One advantage of this is a well-organized tourism community that bolsters Belize’s position as a popular attraction to visitors from all over the world.

At the forefront of the movement is the Belize Tourism Industry Association, or BTIA. The organization lobbies for issues that help its members and the tourism industry as a whole. For example, the BTIA fights for laws and policies that are likely to promote and benefit tourism, a major component of the Belizean economy. Next month, the BTIA will host the bi-annual Belize Tourism Expo, otherwise known as BETEX.

BETEX was started in 1996 as a way for the Belizean tourism industry to market themselves to the international community. It is a major tool of the BTIA in uniting and promoting tourism across the country, now attracting over 300 parties. This year, the Expo will be held right in Belize City from Wednesday, May 7 to Monday, May 12. Participants must register in advance.

As is always the case at BETEX, there are sure to be plenty of representatives from commercial destinations, lodgings, and tour companies, as well as a healthy amount of press attention. The idea is to attract and impress those who make travel decisions, like agents and event planners. The international community can meet and negotiate with the local exhibitors while also learning about our corner of the planet.

For more information on BETEX, or to register for the event, head on over to their website. The event is a fantastic example of the health and vibrancy of Belize’s lucrative tourism industry. 

 

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The Amazing Wildlife of Belize

Belize WildlifeIn Belize, we’re fortunate enough to have the most pristine forest of any country in South America. Over half of the land in Belize is covered by a breathtaking tropical forest, home to thousands of species of plants and animals. According to the BBC, a third of the land in Belize falls under protected status. It’s no surprise that eco-tourism has grown to become one of the most successful industries in the country.

One of the things we love most about being in Belize is the opportunity to witness all kinds of magnificent exotic creatures thriving in their natural habitat. Ground squirrels and white-tailed deer might be all the wildlife some of us can hope to encounter in our day-to-day lives, but in Belize you can expect way more diversity.

Imagine waking up to the call of the black howler monkey, an endangered species found only in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. On any given day, you might be lucky enough to spot a squat, pig-like character with a shy demeanor and a voracious appetite for leaves. Meet the tapir, one of Belize’s most curious mammals.

Every year around September, sea turtles come ashore to nest and lay eggs on the beach. Nesting season is a very special time in Belize, a time when we get to see fresh new life emerge from the sands and boldly set out into the deep ocean. It is a venerated event that annually reminds us how truly precious these ecosystems are.

Keep your species identification guides close at hand! Each time you step out your door in Belize you’ll have the opportunity to see animals you might never have even heard of. We’d love to see you invest in this remarkable global tourism hotspot. For more information on investment opportunities in Belize, contact Belize Shores Realty today.

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Belize Weather: A Traveler’s Paradise

Belize WeatherPart of the great adventure of travel is experiencing different climates, eco-systems, and geographies. And if you normally reside in an area where you live through harsh winters and four quite distinct seasons, Belize may provide the perfect change for you. It remains hot and humid most of the year, which should be idyllic for many seeking respite from snow and freezing temperatures, with tropical coastal breezes by the shorelines.

The temperature in Belize can sometimes reach as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit, while during the winters it can get as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The interior of the country is warmer owing to the fact that it does not receive off-shore winds, and temperatures can be between 5 and 10 degrees higher there.

Humidity is not terribly variable and stays around 85 percent all the year. This can be an issue for visitors who want to tour the magnificent rainforests where it is much warmer, but if you make sure to bring plenty of water or sports drinks and keep yourself hydrated, you should be fine. Keep in mind that it would be wise to engage in serious activity during the cooler parts of the day and not at the midday hours.

The rainy season in Belize is from June until December, with the most rainfall occurring in late June and early July, and the dry season is from February until May. There may be some rain during the dry season but it is usually just brief showers that are not particularly heavy. Most often, storms come in the form of squalls that bring high winds, rain and a slight drop in temperature for only a few minutes, making way for the sun to return.

Belize is the perfect getaway for vacationers who wish to experience a true tropical environment. It boasts magnificent scenery, stunning ecosystems and ruins, and beautiful beaches. At Belize Shores Realty we’ve found that many visitors fall in love with our beautiful weather, and make it their mission to invest in property or spend their retirement right here in Belize.

 

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What Are The Rules For Visiting Belize?

rules for visiting belizeThinking about visiting Belize?

Whether you’re planning a vacation to explore Belize’s many natural wonders and cultural treasures, or you’re looking to invest in Belize through real estate or a commercial business, you’ll need to make yourself familiar with the country’s immigration policy. While it’s true that Belize is incredibly accessible and hospitable to foreigners, it is still a sovereign country with its own laws that you will need to follow.

Fortunately, Belize’s immigration policy is simple and straightforward. Here’s what you’ll need to know before embarking on your exciting journey.

First of all, guests of Belize must arrive with a passport that will be valid for at least another three months. You must also prove that you possess a ticket for the eventual trip home, as well as enough cash to get through the duration of your stay. This means at least $60 US per day. While only a one-month stay will be granted at first, you may apply for an extension with the Immigration Department if you wish to stay longer. The first 6 months will cost $25 each, and every month after that $50.

Failure to keep your passport up to date and stamped by the Immigration Department will cost you a fine of $500 or more. Regardless, when you leave Belize as a visitor or non-citizen, you’ll be charged an exit fee of $39.25, but this is usually included in US airline fare.

Is a visa required to enter Belize? Not if you’re a citizen of any of the following countries:

  • United States and its territories
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom and its territories
  • European Union
  • Caribbean and Central American Countries

If you’re travelling with little ones, whether they’re human or not, you’ll need proper documentation. For children, that means a birth certificate or passport. If only one parent is present, you’ll also need a notarized signature of authorization from the other. For pets, you’ll need a veterinary certificate as well as an import permit from the Belize Agricultural Health Authority.

Other stipulations exist. For example, if you enter on a cruise ship, you’ll only be charged $7, whether you get off the ship or not. If you’re traveling over land borders, you’ll also pay less, $15 for a stay of less than 24 hours and $18.75 otherwise.

For more information on visiting or investing in Belize, visit BelizeShoresRealty.com. We offer commercial properties and other great opportunities for you to begin exploring today.

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Buying a Hotel in Belize

Buying a Hotel in BelizeIt’s understandable to be nervous about investing in a foreign place. Spending the majority of your life in one country allows you to grow comfortable, taking laws and economic factors for granted. However, if you pay a visit to Belize, you’ll quickly realize that it’s much different from other foreign countries. You’ll find that it’s an ideal place for investment, whether you’re looking at purchasing a comfy waterfront retreat or a luxury hotel.

 

Perhaps the best sign when it comes to foreign investment in Belize is that the country places no restrictions on non-citizens who own property. The policy can be likened to a big sign that says “Belize is open for business”. You won’t be put at an automatic disadvantage to the hotel across the street, and you’ll be able to keep rates competitive with more established businesses. In addition, Belize property taxes are remarkably low, and they don’t have any capital gains tax at all. When operating a hotel in Belize, you won’t be punished by the government for the work and capital you put in to help it grow.

 

Another attractive feature of the economic climate in Belize is just how easy it is to do business in the country. In some cases, making a foreign investment requires learning an entirely new system of laws. Even worse are horror stories of a business failing due to a regulation that went unnoticed or was conveniently omitted during a business deal.

 

In Belize, the laws are modeled on England’s, meaning you’re already familiar with the basic concepts. Even better is the fact that English is the official language. You won’t need to put your trust and money into translators, and you’ll save a great deal of time by working with contracts that you can actually read. You can make more fluid business deals by keeping in constant contact with associates who share your native language.

 

In addition to speaking your language, the people of Belize are also typically very welcoming of foreigners. If you wish, it shouldn’t be hard to immerse yourself in the community and build trust with your neighbors. After all, the success of Belize is a mutual interest among all residents. Belize is a country that welcomes Americans into a friendly business atmosphere.

 

Buying a hotel in Belize also offers a guarantee of stability, as the government functions well, placing emphasis on rights to private property. The country boasts an impressive communications network and an efficient postal service. On top of it all, Belizean currency is fixed, 2-to-1, to the American dollar, saving you from sudden fluctuations in value.

 

The benefits of buying property in Belize are clear. Visit Belize Shores Realty for more investment information, and to browse listings today.

 

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Five Amazing Places to Visit in Belize

Amazing Places in BelizeIt’s not just the beautiful tropical weather and ease of doing business in Belize that’s attracting investment in the tourism industry. One of a kind features in the natural landscape, historically significant remnants of the ancient Mayan civilization, and attractive island cultural features of Belize all make for some can’t-miss landmarks for the adventurous vacationer. Here are five places to put on your list when visiting or looking to invest in the world treasure of Belize.

 

Caracol

Belize was once part of the southern Maya lowlands, and Caracol was a major political center of this area. Located near the Guatemalan border, Caracol includes thousands of archeological structures, including Mesoamerican pyramids. Caracol once housed twice as many people as the modern Belize City does today.

 

Belize Barrier Reef

The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest coral reef system in the world. While it is a popular spot for diving or snorkeling, 90% of the Belize Barrier Reef is unexplored. This, along with the incredible biodiversity of the reef, makes it a focus of scientific rese arch and environmental protection.

 

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is a small island made of limestone coral, about 20 miles away from Belize City. While the island is only accessible by boat or plane, its popularity with tourists, starting with groups of hippies in the 1960s and 70s, has led to the creation of small-scale dining, shopping and lodging options.

 

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye is another island in Belize, although it’s much larger than Caye Caulker. Traditionally a trading hub for the country, it is now one of the hottest tourist destinations in the region and a popular place for investment. San Pedro is the only town on Ambergris Caye, serving as a popular launching point for diving trips at the Belize Barrier Reef.

 

Great Blue Hole

While the Great Blue Hole is part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef, it deserves its own mention as a wonderful scuba diving and snorkeling location. Visitors to the 125 meter-deep, circular sinkhole will witness with their own eyes what the Discovery Channel called the first “most amazing place on Earth”. 

 

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Belize Tourism setting records!

This article is reposted from one of our local online newspapers; Ambergris Today

BELIZE TOURISM SETTING RECORDS!

Belize Tourism Statistics 2013: First Quarter Report

Belize Tourism Statistics 2013: First Quarter Report

The year 2013 started out on an all-time high for Belize’s tourism industry, having documented record numbers for the first quarter. The trends in the first quarter of 2013 tourist arrivals are indicative of 2012’s patterns, in which substantial numbers were recorded per month. In fact, the last time there was a decrease in any month for tourist arrivals was October 2011- making it nineteen consecutive months of increases in overnight tourist arrivals to Belize.

Tourism Statistics 2013: First Quarter Report

There was a record high in arrivals by air in January, February and March of 2013, showing a 7.58%, 6.0% and 10.1% increases respectively, compared to 2012. This year’s month of March recorded 28,623 tourist arrivals, which is over 5,200 more than last year’s March total of 25,982. This is the first time in history that arrivals by air exceeded the 28,000 visitor mark for any month. In summary, airport tourist arrivals showed 8.1% growth in this year’s first quarter, in comparison to last year’s.

Tourism Statistics 2013: First Quarter Report

For overnight tourist arrivals, the months of January, February and March recorded increases of 17.2%, 11.6% and 11% respectively. For the first time ever, overnight visitors exceeded 35,000 visitors in March 2013. The previous all-time high was 32,240 visitors in March of the previous year. Overall, the overnight tourist arrivals stats indicate that there was a 13% growth over 2012’s first quarter.

Tourism Statistics 2013: First Quarter Report

Despite dismal cruise arrivals last year, 2013’s first quarter showed notable increases. There was a 19.4% increase in arrivals in January, and an 11.4% increase in arrivals in February, compared to last year’s stats. In addition, March saw a modest increase of 1.4% over the previous year, all of which resulted in a total of 10.9% increase in cruise arrivals in the first three months of this year.

For more information, please contact the Belize Tourism Board at 227-2420.

This is nothing short of astounding and lends even more credibility to Belize being a primary commercial investment location. Contact us about all the wonderful properties and businesses that are available today.

 

Why Belize?

From me, Paul, Broker at Belize Shores Realty, I wanted to publish my personal reasons for relocating with my wife and partner to Belize:

My wife and I are children of the 50s and 60s. We grew up in an America that was proud and living there made you feel like you were in the best place in the world at the best time in history. 

Then something happened in the early 70s. Whether I just matured and started realizing that the current events during our childhood was a stage show playing out to a devastating and surprising end, or  whether there was some single event that was to change the future, I’m really not sure, BUT I do know that the America that we grew up in is not the same.

My first jobs were with companies like Collins Radio/Rockwell, Fisher Controls/Monsanto, John Deere Tractor and on. I saw people no longer willing to stay loyal to any one employer because the employers were losing interest in taking care of their employees as they had since the industrial revolution and unionization. All of a sudden I felt an urgency to take care of my family in a more personal or self-sustaining manner and started moving around the country. While doing so we ended up in California where life became more isolated, even though the suburban populace seemed never ending. We went from our isolated homes, to our isolated cars, to our work cubicle, and back home, hardly seeing any neighbors except to wave on bar-b-q weekends! I longed for a better life even though my financial life was just fine, I didn’t feel at home.

Many years later, after our two children had gone on their own, I discovered Central America. Life was back to the 50s and 60s again. Your neighbor was just that, neighborly. People waived on the streets EVERY MORNING! Hellos or Buenos Dias came from nearly every mouth you met. I was back home again!

Belize is an oasis in Central America for most of us Expats from the US that refused to learn a foreign language. Come and visit San Pedro just once and 90% of you will be hooked! You may not have the same desire to leave the rat race behind as I did, but you will relax. Your blood pressure will settle, your nerves will calm, and your smile to neighbors and strangers will return.

We investigated Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Belize. We felt comfortable here! Whether it barefooting it around San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, or rubbing elbows with the Garifuna in Hopkins. I don’t think you will find a friendlier place on earth.

Now Tripadvisor has named Ambergris Caye the #1 Island in the World! What a statement! We agree!

Important news about the future of Belize Investment!

In Belize yesterday afternoon some important news about the future of Belize Investment was announced.  

Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that after his personal intervention with one of the co-chairs of the credit committee, Mr. A.J. Mediratta an agreement has been made that will enable the Sovereign nation of Belize to restructure its “Superbond”, the major external debt that Belize owes.

Speaking at a press conference in Belize City yesterday afternoon, the Honorable Mr. Barrow said that “Belize had reached agreement in principle with its bondholders over the restructuring of the Superbond. This agreement is comprehensive, it is sustainable, and it will provide well in excess of $150 million in relief to Belize.

The agreement was struck this afternoon after a long and arduous negotiating process; after things took a particular turn that saw me getting personally involved into the mix and saw me begin direct conversations with A.J. Mediratta, a partner at Greylock Capital Management one of the two co-chairs on the creditor committee.”

According to the Prime Minister a term sheet is being prepared containing the particulars of what he and Mr. Mediratta have agreed. “Until that term sheet is prepared and signed off on I am not at liberty to tell you the details that we have agreed”.

Evidently Mr. Barrow has been meeting with with Mr. Mediratta for several weeks in confidential and concurrent negotiations alongside the formal negotiations that the Belize SuperBond team and its U.S. based financial and legal advisers were holding.

The PM refused to answer questions from reporters about any details stating that until the actual term sheet is produced and agreed to, which was estimated to be about the 15 of January 2013, he could not discuss the particulars. He also stated that “We certainly expect that the maturity of the new bond will be longer than what currently remains in the SuperBond, we expect that there will be a principal reduction, and we expect that in all the circumstances there will be a launch of the new offer with the new terms in or around the 15th of January 2013.

We expect to close the deal in terms of having the creditors take up the new offer in time for us to start the servicing of the new instrument just at a point where the coupon for the old payment would have been due on February 15th 2013”. The Prime Minister announced that the solution to Belize’s external debt problems means that no new taxes will be introduced in Belize’s 2013 government budget. But he said that the government will have to find ways of introducing discipline in his government’s spending, something that the world would love to hear come out of other countries of the world.

“There is going to be a rearrangement in terms of coupons and lower interest payments spread out over a far longer period. This is a huge victory for this country and makes a wonderful Christmas gift for the people of Belize,” he concluded.

This means a more inviting atmosphere for Commercial Investment in Belize!