The economy in Ambergris Caye is relatively vibrant. About 70% of tourists who come into Belize stop through Ambergris Caye. They may come for diving, or fishing, or whatever other water expeditions that they might endeavor to enjoy. The tourism business here is very active. The busy season here runs from Thanksgiving through Easter. Then you will see a low, which is actually the better time to come and visit Ambergris Caye because there are not as many tourists.
The island’s economy is based on tourism, for the most part. Tourism is the number one contributor to the GDP of Belize. It has changed a little bit but certainly on the island, tourism is the main contributor to the economy.
There are other contributors to the economy like construction, which to some degree or another are based on tourism. For example, there are investment opportunities in condo rental projects or properties. People buy condos and use them from 2 weeks to a couple of months a year and for the rest of the year, they put them up for rent. For the most part, without the tourist market, the rentals wouldn’t be there.
Ambergris Caye is split into the north side and the south side. On the south side of the island, there are very few oceanfront properties remaining. The north side of the island runs quite a bit farther. The island is 28 miles long and in every 2 or 3 miles, you will see a community or a development, and that construction continues.
There is also a little bit of commercial fishing and there is a cooperative here on the island that is for selling to the local market as well as any other tourists and the restaurant business.
Tourism in Ambergris Caye has been relatively steady. In fact, the island has been voted to be the number one island in the world in 2013 and then again in 2014. The level of tourist activity will tend to parallel the economy of North America. Ambergris Caye is a destination for North Americans. We also have some people coming from Europe and other parts of the world, but mainly it’s Americans and Canadians.
Right now, the US dollar is on a strong run so the Canadian dollar and the other dollar currencies associated with it are taking a little bit of a beating. As a result, we have a little bit of a dip from the Canadian contingency. But for the most part, the Canadians are still coming and the tourism demand from Canada is still pretty strong.
(Fishing for barracuda in Ambergris Caye, pictured.)