The Economy in Belize
Belize used to be known as British Honduras when it was a British colony. In those days, the economy centered on logging. Fine mahogany from the nation’s jungles was a main source of income until the 20th century. Over time, the slow-growing mahogany trees became harder to find, and it no longer became viable to harvest them.
After the 1940s, agriculture became the main economic sector. Cane sugar, citrus fruits and bananas became the country’s main exports, as well as finished garments and seafood.
While agriculture, seafood and manufactured clothing continue to factor in Belize’s economy, in the modern era, tourism has become the most important industry. It is also the one that attracts the most direct foreign investment, though telecom, energy and agriculture also generate some. The energy sector was given a boost after the discovery of oil near the community of Spanish Lookout in the Cayo District.
Foreigners face some limits when it comes to investing in agriculture, as non-citizens wishing to purchase rural plots that are larger than 10 acres must submit a development plan. Only after it is approved will they be granted a title to the land.
Smaller plots, however, such as that used for a single-family home, face no restriction. In this way, Belize is much more attractive to foreigners than other countries in the region. Non-citizens can freely buy a home for their own use or a vacation property to be rented to tourists. In fact, Belize encourages expats to retire within its borders through its Qualified Retirement Program.
For those looking to buy land in this part of the world, there are several other factors that make Belize attractive.
It is a politically stable country. Its legal system, which is based on British common law, is relatively transparent. The currency is stable, being pegged to the U.S. dollar at a 2:1 ratio.
Economic trends are also promising. Inflation has been very low for almost 30 years, except for a spike in 2008. GDP growth averaged 4% a year from 1999-2007.
Since then, there have been economic downturns due to global conditions. However, Belize has the second highest per capital income in Central America. Since English is the official language of the country, it is easy for expats to conduct business here with the locals.
If you’re interested in owning a piece of this tropical paradise, consider Salt Life Belize. This community on the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye is the best place for foreigners to live. The island itself is the most popular tourist destination in the country, which means if you are considering buying a condo to rent to visitors, this is the best location. It is also ideal if you’d like a vacation or retirement property.