Belize: tourism impact of COVID-19 on GDP by scenario 2020

Belize could experience a major GDP contraction in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector. It was estimated that if the number of tourist arrivals were reduced by half that year, the country's GDP would decrease by 7.2 percent. In a risk scenario of a 75 percent drop in tourist arrivals, Belize's GDP could be 11.5 percent lower than in the previous year. As of January 2020, before the COVID-19 outbreak, this country's economy was expected to shrink by only 0.4 percent.

Belize's gross domestic product

Belize's GDP has increased steadily over the past decades, rising from one billion international dollars in 1984 to 3.3 billion international dollars in 2019. Despite the forecasted GDP drop for 2020, the country is expected to recover in 2021, according to April 2020 projections. Belize's per capita GDP in 2018 was calculated to be at 5.02 thousand U.S. dollars. This was one of the lowest values in Latin America and the Caribbean, placing the Central American country significantly below the regional average. However, Belize still surpassed its neighboring countries in this metric, with the second highest GDP per capita in continental Central America, only behind Panama.

Importance of tourism for Belize's economy

The travel and tourism sector directly and indirectly represented over one third of Belize's GDP in 2019, which made it the most tourism-dependent economy in continental Latin America. A year earlier, the international tourism revenue in the country amounted to 487 million U.S. dollars, the largest revenue generated from that sector since 2008. During that same ten-year-period, the number of international tourist arrivals in Belize showed a general uptrend, reaching 1.7 million arrivals in 2018, around 4.5 times more than its total population that same year.

Impact of fall in tourist arrivals due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on GDP growth in Belize in 2020, by scenario

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Sources

Release date

April 2020

Region

Belize

Survey time period

2020

Special properties

Forecast

Supplementary notes

* International Monetary Fund
** Central Bank of Belize
Base and risk scenario GDP growth rates were estimated by IADB. They do not consider the effect of the COVID-19 on external commodity prices and demand shocks.

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