Surprising news is coming from WestJet, one of Canada’s most beloved airlines – as of October 29, 2016, they will be offering direct flights from Toronto to Belize City. Flights are scheduled for only Wednesdays and Saturdays.
— WestJet (@WestJet) August 8, 2016
The news is welcomed by many advocates that have been anxiously awaiting a non-stop flight from Canada to Belize. Members from groups such as Canada direct flight to Belize and Bring WestJet Belize have constantly pleaded the airlines by writing emails and messages on social media.
This is also spectacular news for the Belize Tourism Industry, Canadians account for 7% of the tourism visitor market share and with direct flights, the number is more than likely to increase. Currently, Canadians are only able to visit Belize via an airport stopover in the US – or the less likely option of a stopover in Cancun, Mexico. Canadians dislike the stopover in the US due to strict Customs and Immigration checks and the Cancun stopover is expensive.
Since October is just around the bend, I advise hotels and tour operators to start preparing marketing initiatives targeting Canadians primarily from the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, since Toronto is easily accessible. As for the Belize Tourism Board, a SWOT analysis of Belize’s position compared to competitors would be an ideal place to start a strategic marketing plan for the country.
The data suggests that possible competitors are Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Mexico, the leading contender, in 2014 admitted almost 2 million overnight Canadian tourists, who spent a whopping $2.26 billion Canadian dollars. However, the Mexican Tourism Board has invested heavily in marketing and has offices in Toronto and Vancouver.