How Belize Is Surging The Travel Industry With New Visa-Free Entry Policy For 87 Countries, Including Schengen Nations, Switzerland And UK?


Friday, June 28, 2024

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Entering Belize is significantly easier for nationals from numerous countries, as they can do so without the need for a visa. This convenience makes Belize an increasingly attractive destination for holidaymakers, leisure travelers, and those on business or corporate travel. Belize is invigorating the travel industry with its new visa-free entry policy for 87 countries, including Schengen nations, Switzerland, and the UK. Holidaymakers and leisure travelers can seamlessly plan their vacations to explore Belize’s pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and lush rainforests, enhancing their travel experience with activities such as snorkeling in the Great Blue Hole, visiting ancient Mayan ruins, and relaxing on Ambergris Caye. For business travelers and those on corporate travel, the visa-free entry simplifies planning and attending conferences, meetings, and corporate events in Belize’s growing business hubs like Belize City. The ease of entry, coupled with the country’s rich cultural heritage and modern amenities, provides an ideal setting for both leisure and business engagements, ensuring a memorable and hassle-free experience for visitors from around the world.

Belize saw a substantial increase in tourism in 2023, with 464,717 overnight visitors, marking a 25 percent rise compared to 2022.

TTW Editor in Chief Mr. Anup Kumar Keshan said: “The implementation of Belize visa-free policy for 98 countries, including Schengen nations, has been a transformative force for the tourism sector. This strategic move has not only simplified the entry process for millions but has also broadened our appeal across diverse travel sectors. Additionally, this policy has invigorated niche travel markets, such as culinary tourism, adventure travel, and wellness retreats, enriching the travel experience and fostering significant economic growth and cultural exchange.”

Countries Eligible to Enter Belize Without a Visa

Nationals from the following countries do not require a visa to enter Belize for stays up to 30 days:

Schengen Nations

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Croatia
  4. Cyprus
  5. Czech Republic
  6. Denmark
  7. Estonia
  8. Finland
  9. France
  10. Germany
  11. Greece
  12. Hungary
  13. Iceland
  14. Ireland
  15. Italy
  16. Latvia
  17. Liechtenstein
  18. Lithuania
  19. Luxembourg
  20. Malta
  21. Netherlands
  22. Norway
  23. Poland
  24. Portugal
  25. Slovakia
  26. Slovenia
  27. Spain
  28. Sweden
  29. Switzerland

Other Countries

  1. Andorra
  2. Argentina (90 days)
  3. Australia
  4. Bahamas
  5. Barbados
  6. Botswana
  7. Brazil (90 days)
  8. Canada
  9. Chile (90 days)
  10. Colombia (30 days)
  11. Costa Rica (30 days)
  12. Dominica
  13. El Salvador (30 days)
  14. Fiji
  15. Gambia
  16. Ghana
  17. Grenada
  18. Guatemala (30 days)
  19. Guyana
  20. Honduras (30 days)
  21. Hong Kong
  22. Israel (90 days)
  23. Jamaica
  24. Japan (90 days)
  25. Kiribati
  26. Lesotho (30 days)
  27. Malawi (30 days)
  28. Malaysia
  29. Mauritius (30 days)
  30. Mexico (30 days)
  31. Monaco
  32. Montenegro
  33. Namibia (30 days)
  34. New Zealand
  35. Nicaragua (30 days)
  36. Panama (30 days)
  37. Paraguay (30 days)
  38. Peru (30 days)
  39. Samoa
  40. San Marino (90 days)
  41. Seychelles
  42. Singapore
  43. Solomon Islands
  44. South Africa (30 days)
  45. St. Kitts and Nevis (30 days)
  46. St. Lucia (30 days)
  47. St. Vincent and the Grenadines (30 days)
  48. Tanzania (30 days)
  49. Trinidad and Tobago (30 days)
  50. Turkey (90 days)
  51. Tuvalu
  52. Uganda (30 days)
  53. United Kingdom (30 days)
  54. United States
  55. Uruguay (30 days)
  56. Vanuatu
  57. Zambia (30 days)
  58. Zimbabwe (30 days)

Top Touristy Places in Belize

  1. Great Blue Hole
    • A giant marine sinkhole off the coast of Belize, part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • Highlights: Scuba diving, snorkeling, aerial tours.
  2. Ambergris Caye
    • The largest island in Belize, known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife.
    • Highlights: San Pedro Town, water sports, beach resorts, and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
  3. Caye Caulker
    • A smaller, more laid-back island compared to Ambergris Caye, popular for its relaxed atmosphere.
    • Highlights: The Split, snorkeling, diving, and the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve.
  4. Xunantunich
    • An ancient Mayan archaeological site located atop a ridge overlooking the Mopan River.
    • Highlights: El Castillo pyramid, Mayan ruins, panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  5. Caracol
    • One of the largest Mayan ruins in Belize, located in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve.
    • Highlights: Caana (Sky Palace), ancient plazas, and numerous smaller structures.
  6. Belize Barrier Reef
    • The second-largest coral reef system in the world.
    • Highlights: Snorkeling, diving, marine biodiversity, and beautiful coral formations.
  7. Placencia Peninsula
    • Known for its long stretch of white-sand beaches and charming village atmosphere.
    • Highlights: Beach resorts, water activities, and the Placencia Lagoon.
  8. Lamanai
    • A significant Mayan archaeological site known for its impressive temples and jungle setting.
    • Highlights: High Temple, Jaguar Temple, and the Mask Temple.
  9. Hopkins Village
    • A Garifuna village known for its cultural experiences and beautiful beaches.
    • Highlights: Traditional drumming and dancing, beach resorts, and cultural tours.
  10. Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave
    • A cave containing Mayan relics, including ceramics, stoneware, and human remains.
    • Highlights: Guided cave tours, archaeological artifacts, and ancient Mayan history.

Airlines and Airports in Belize

Major Airlines

  1. American Airlines
    • Description: Offers direct flights from major US cities to Belize.
  2. Delta Airlines
    • Description: Provides flights between Atlanta and Belize.
  3. United Airlines
    • Description: Connects Belize with various US cities including Houston and Newark.
  4. Southwest Airlines
    • Description: Offers budget-friendly flights to Belize from the US.
  5. Tropic Air
    • Description: Regional airline providing domestic flights within Belize and to neighboring countries.
  6. Maya Island Air
    • Description: Domestic airline offering flights across Belize and to nearby destinations.

Major Airports

  1. Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (BZE)
    • Location: Ladyville, near Belize City
    • Description: The primary international airport in Belize, serving major airlines and offering connections to the US, Canada, and other countries.
  2. John Greif II Airport (SPR)
    • Location: San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
    • Description: Serves domestic flights primarily operated by Tropic Air and Maya Island Air.
  3. Placencia Airport (PLJ)
    • Location: Placencia Peninsula
    • Description: Small regional airport providing domestic flights.
  4. Dangriga Airport (DGA)
    • Location: Dangriga
    • Description: Regional airport serving domestic flights.

Railway Connectivity in Belize

Belize currently does not have a railway system for passenger travel. The primary modes of transportation within the country are by road and air.

Benefits for Visa-Exempt Travelers

Easier Access for Holidaymakers and Leisure Travel

Travelers from countries that do not require a visa to enter Belize benefit from seamless travel planning. They can book direct flights with major airlines such as American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines, ensuring convenient access to Belize’s top tourist destinations like the Great Blue Hole, Ambergris Caye, and ancient Mayan ruins. This ease of entry enhances the overall travel experience, allowing holidaymakers and leisure travelers to maximize their time exploring Belize’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Convenient Business and Corporate Travel

For business and corporate travelers, the visa-free policy simplifies travel arrangements, making it easier to plan and attend meetings, conferences, and corporate events. The efficient airline connectivity provided by major carriers ensures that professionals can travel seamlessly between Belize and major international business hubs. Additionally, the growing infrastructure in cities like Belize City supports corporate activities, offering modern amenities and facilities for business engagements.

Major Cruise Lines Operating in Belize

  1. Carnival Cruise Line
    • Description: Offers various itineraries that include stops in Belize City, where passengers can explore local attractions and participate in shore excursions.
  2. Royal Caribbean International
    • Description: Provides cruises that visit Belize, offering excursions such as snorkeling in the Belize Barrier Reef, visiting Mayan ruins, and exploring the rainforests.
  3. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)
    • Description: Features itineraries with stops in Belize, where passengers can enjoy activities like cave tubing, zip-lining, and cultural tours.
  4. Princess Cruises
    • Description: Includes Belize in its Caribbean cruise routes, allowing guests to experience the natural and cultural beauty of the country.
  5. MSC Cruises
    • Description: Offers cruises that dock in Belize, providing passengers with opportunities to explore local markets, wildlife sanctuaries, and adventure tours.

Ports in Belize

  1. Port of Belize City
    • Location: Belize City
    • Description: The primary port of call for cruise ships visiting Belize, equipped to handle large cruise liners and providing access to various shore excursions and activities.
  2. Harvest Caye
    • Location: Near Placencia
    • Description: A private island destination owned by Norwegian Cruise Line, offering exclusive amenities and activities for cruise passengers.

Benefits for Visa-Exempt Travelers

Convenient Entry for Holidaymakers

Travelers from countries that do not require a visa to enter Belize can easily join cruises that include Belize as a port of call. This visa-free entry facilitates seamless travel planning, allowing holidaymakers to enjoy the diverse experiences Belize offers without the hassle of obtaining a visa.

Enhanced Leisure Travel

Cruise passengers can explore Belize’s top attractions, such as the Great Blue Hole, Mayan ruins, and lush rainforests, during their shore excursions. The ease of entry ensures that travelers can maximize their leisure time, enjoying both the onboard amenities of their cruise and the rich cultural and natural beauty of Belize.

Unknown Facts and History About Belize as a Tourist Hotspot

Ancient Maya Civilization

Belize is home to numerous ancient Maya ruins, some of which date back to as early as 1500 BC. Sites like Caracol, Xunantunich, and Lamanai offer a glimpse into the rich history and advanced civilization of the Maya people. Caracol was once a powerful city-state that rivaled the famous Tikal in Guatemala.

Belize Barrier Reef

Belize boasts the second-largest barrier reef in the world, after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The Belize Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts divers and snorkelers from around the globe. Notably, it was Charles Darwin who first described the reef as “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies” in 1842.

Cultural Melting Pot

Belize is known for its diverse cultural heritage, influenced by the Maya, Garifuna, Mestizo, Creole, Mennonite, and East Indian communities, among others. This diversity is reflected in Belize’s festivals, music, dance, and cuisine, making it a vibrant cultural destination.

English-Speaking Country in Central America

Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America, which makes it a convenient destination for tourists from English-speaking countries. This linguistic ease can enhance the travel experience, making it easier to navigate and interact with locals.

Belize’s Independence

Belize gained independence from the United Kingdom on September 21, 1981. Despite its relatively recent independence, Belize has maintained strong ties with Britain and remains a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

The Great Blue Hole

One of Belize’s most iconic natural wonders, the Great Blue Hole, is a giant marine sinkhole near the center of the Lighthouse Reef. It was made famous by Jacques Cousteau, who declared it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world in 1971. The hole is over 300 meters (984 feet) across and 125 meters (410 feet) deep.

Ecotourism Pioneer

Belize has long been a pioneer in ecotourism, promoting sustainable travel practices to protect its rich biodiversity. The country’s numerous protected areas, wildlife sanctuaries, and marine reserves highlight its commitment to conservation and responsible tourism.

Belize’s Jaguars

Belize is home to the world’s first jaguar preserve, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Established in 1986, this sanctuary spans over 150 square miles and provides a protected habitat for jaguars and other wildlife, offering unique wildlife spotting opportunities for tourists.

Diverse Marine Life

Apart from the Belize Barrier Reef, the country’s waters are home to a diverse array of marine life, including whale sharks, manatees, and numerous species of fish and coral. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve are popular spots for marine wildlife encounters.

Historical Shipwrecks

Belize’s waters are dotted with historical shipwrecks, making it a fascinating destination for diving enthusiasts interested in underwater archaeology. These shipwrecks offer a glimpse into the maritime history of the region and add an element of adventure to diving expeditions.

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