Belize’s government, recognized by investors as supportive and predictable, is wholly committed to creating the conditions, policies and institutions to continue supporting the country’s niche-oriented development model and preserving the country’s distinctiveness.
No capital gains tax
Property taxes are very affordable
Anyone, including foreigners, enjoys the same property rights under the Belize Constitution.
There are no restrictions on foreigners owning land in any part of Belize.
Qualified Retired Persons Program:
The Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Act passed by the Belize House of Representatives in 1999 and is operated by the Belize Tourism Board. The QRP program is aimed at attracting retirees to Belize. In the first few years of the program it attracted considerable interest and several applications.
Benefits of QRP Status:
- Exemption from all taxes on income and receipts.
- Exemption from all import duties and taxes on personal effects upon first importation into Belize.
- Exemption from all import duties and taxes every five years on a personal motor vehicle.
- Spouse and children under the age of eighteen included in program.
- Permission to conduct business from within Belize if business activities are carried on mainly outside of the country and are not conducted with Belizeans.
Any Retired Person over 45 years of age who is a citizen or permanent resident of the USA, UK, Canada or Belize may apply for Qualified Retired Person status.
Application Requirements: Interested persons can obtain an application form from the Belize Tourist Board (BTB). Completed applications must be submitted along with the following supporting documentation:
- Birth Certificate (A copy of a certificate for the applicant and each dependant)
- Marriage Certificate (If married and spouse is a dependant)
- Authentic Police Record (An authentic police record from the applicants last place of residency issued within one month prior to this application)
- Passport (Clear copies of complete passport (including all blank pages) of applicant and all dependents that have been certified by a Notary Public. The copies must have the passport number, name of principal, number of pages and the seal or stamp of the Notary Public.)
- Proof of Income:
1. An official statement from a bank or financial institution certifying that the applicant is the recipient of a pension or annuity of a minimum of US$2,000.00 per month.
2. A Financial Statement from a financial institution, bank, credit union, or building society in Belize certifying that the applicant’s investment will generate the sum of a minimum of US$2,000.00 per month or the equivalent of US$24,000.00 per year.
- Medical Examination (Applicants should undergo a complete medical examination including an AIDS test. A copy of the medical certificate must be attached to the application.)
- Passport photos (Four front and four-side passport size photographs that have been taken recently of applicant and dependents)
Despite Belize’s relatively small marketing budget as compared to other Caribbean competitors, Belize continues to develop into one of the most desirable eco-travel and adventure destinations in the Caribbean. The country’s niche markets include diving, extreme adventures, fly fishing, birding, cuisine, and weddings/honeymoons.
The Belize Boom
Belize is a country only 35 years of age and is the most sparsely populated country in Central America. Its population is currently around just 375,000, and it’s only 68 miles wide and 180 miles long. But Belize is developing, tourism growth is strong, and the overall population is growing as young families expand and American and Canadian baby boomers adopt Belize as their retirement home.
According to the Statistical Institute of Belize, in Belize’s most popular travel destination, San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, the population has almost tripled during the first decade of the century. Currently it’s estimated at just over 17,000.
In the past five years, Belize has seen dirt roads paved, highways expanded, and the country’s only international airport build a longer runway, plus a whole new wing to accommodat four major airlines now arriving in Belize for the first time. And a new one is coming to Ambergris Caye within 2 years.
In addition, the first international luxury brands have arrived (yours truly, Mahogany Bay Village, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Wyndham Indira).
The year 2016 culminated with another significant achievement for the tourism industry, boasting the highest overnight arrivals in twenty years. 2016 has proven to be the most successful year for Belize’s overnight tourism sector. With an overall increase of 13% in comparison to 2015, this translates to 44,422 additional visitors enjoying the beauty of our Jewel; the largest increase reflected in the past 20 years.
Where the hell is Belize?
But — where the hell is Belize — you ask? Belize is on the Caribbean Coast of Central America, just south of Mexico, east of Guatemala, and north of Honduras. It’s only 2-3 hours direct flight from Houston or Miami. And to think — it’s been there the whole time!
This wiseguy phrase, “Where the Hell is Belize?” was not long ago so common in the gift shops in San Pedro. It was considered the 1980s T-shirt for $109. Now it seems that “where the hell is Belize?” no longer resonates quite like it used to since this hidden gem of a place is being more and more revealed.
Celebrity investments such as Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Blackadore Caye project are further solidifying Belize’s place on the maps and minds of the popular culture. Accordingly, Belize property values are enjoying a bullish but steady investment market.
A Hidden Gem Revealed
Only 35 years old, this country is growing now like crazy. The terrain is filled with beautiful beaches and palm trees on the coast and famous ruins and waterfalls on the mainland. Two of the biggest draws to Belize are scuba diving and fishing on the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest reef in the world and home of the Blue Hole. And they still have 36% reserve terrain and over 600,000 acres of marine reserve. This biodiversity is on eof the main focuses of sustainability and attraction for Belize.
Spanish explorers were wary of coming close to its miles of treacherous barrier reef and shallow waters due to threat of shipwrech, and the lure of Mexico’s Yucatáte Peninsula was enough to distract people from venturing too far south.
The one day a few rogue Britons arrived in search of hardwoods to export. Since they came with no religious or political agenda, the Mayans tolerated them enough to let them live. British Honduras came and went, and here we are today in the present day commonwealth of Belize. Because Belize was largely overlooked for so long, today we can enjoy its stunning natural geography as “mother nature’s best kept secret”, like very few other places on the planet.
Recently, the Belize Tourism board put out a press release brandishing the newest record-breaking tourism statistics: March 2017 tourist arrivals tallied up to 44,400 — the most of any month recorded, ever! But this isn’t so surprising, as most every year tourism totals stamp out the same month of the previous year so regularly that the upward trend has become undeniable.
To give a bit more history, in 1995 there was a documented 130,809 overnight visitors to Belize, and in 2012 that number more than doubled to 277,136 (not including cruise ship day visitors). Each year our tourism numbers creep up, and this year we’re expecting nearly 400,000 overnight visitors!
It’s expected that property values will continue the same trajectory, as well as occupancy rates in hotels and guest houses. Fortunately for Ambergris Caye, the island continues to receive the lion’s share of all tourist arrivals in the country, at about 70%.
In the end, not matter how clever the marketing outreach, it’s the product that must speak for itself. And Belize does just that. Visit and see for yourself!
Belize Tourism Statistics
In 2015, the overnight tourism industry experienced many firsts and record breaking numbers which lead to an overall growth of 6.2% or 19,900 over 2014. Despite an unsteady first and second quarter, Belize had seven straight months of arrival increases, the bulk of the which occurred in the last four months. September to December of 2015 showed record improvements with overnight arrivals increasing every month in comparison to last year’s figures. September had an increase of 19.3%, October 22.1%, November 33% and December, a 22.5% increase.
November’s 33% increase is the largest ever recorded for this month, which rarely goes above a 10% increase. The month of December saw 39,977 overnight visitors to Belize, which is the first time in history that a month in overnight arrivals has approached 40,000.
The month of December has historically been a busy time of year for overnight tourist traffic into Belize. It officially marks the beginning of the tourism high season, as visitors from North America vacation in the Caribbean and Central America to escape the winter weather.
2015 also marked the beginning of South West and COPA Airlines’ flights to Belize in October and December respectively, boosting overnight arrivals through the international airport. Since the first flight of Copa Airlines in December, South American visitors has increased 50.3% when compared to 2014. Airport arrivals accounted for majority of the overnight arrivals with around 75.02% of the overall overnight figure. The total increase in Airport Arrivals for 2015 was 7%. All these factors culminated in a strong increase in visitor traffic in the latter months of the year.
In 2015, there was a total of 957,975 cruise passenger arrivals recorded. This was a minor dip of -1% when compared to 2014. In the last quarter of 2015, October recorded a drop of 29.2%, but an increase in November of 9.2% (81,113 passengers) and in December of 1.6% (143,598 passengers). During 2015, there was only 1 cruise call cancellation in the last quarter of the year amounting to a total of 3,070 less passengers arriving to Belize. Finally, in December, Belize received the newest Cruise line – the MSC Divina.
Belize Tourism News
Arrivals to Belize Continue Steady Growth Path
Despite taking a hit from Hurricane Earl in 2016, the Belize tourism industry is the primary sector that continues to excel. From new additional flights, cruise lines, marketing strategies, and international recognition via various vacationing celebrities, Belize is definitely in the spotlight for 2017… Read More
Tourism Industry Delivers Record Breaking Results
For the first 9 months of 2017, the tourism arrivals continue to show a positive trend. The latest statistics show there was a 7.9% increase in Overnight arrivals in the month of September, representing an increase of over 1,400 visitors… Read More