The transportation industry has run persistent deficits since 1985.10 The travel sector is the most important service export in the tourism industry and accounts for approximately 70 percent of Belize’s total service exports since the 1990s.11 This sector includes transport and storage, post and telecommunications services. In 1992, performance in the sector was robust contributing 9.6% towards annual GDP growth. By 2008 however, the annual growth in GDP was a mere 1.7%.12
Belize receives three types of visitor arrivals: stopover arrivals (overnight visitors), same day visitors (mainly from bordering countries such as Guatemala and Mexico) and cruise ship passengers. The US market is the largest consumer of the Belizean travel industry. In 2006, it accounted for approximately 62 percent of Belize’s stopover arrivals.13
During the 1998 to 2009 period, the number of cruise passengers in Belize grew significantly from 14,183 passengers to 705,219 respectively14. (See Figure 2). In 1998, there were only 25 ship calls but that record has increased considerably to 284 calls in 2009, with the record highest being 406 ship calls in 2004.15
Communications Services also classified as Information Communication Technology (ICT), increased with the inception of more providers in the fields of software development, online gaming, offshore data processing and call centers. By mid 2007, four ICT companies were operating in Export Processing Zones (EPZs).