A small, upper-middle income country with a population of about 359 000 and a per capita income of US$ 4,906 (current) in 2016, Belize has undergone significant economic transformation over the last two decades, mainly due to the growing tourism industry and to the commercial oil discovery in 2005. Tourism and agriculture are the main sources of income and employment. Tourism represents almost one fourth of GDP while agriculture approximately 13 percent (2015 data). The country also hosts the largest living coral reef in the world and is a paradise for divers and marine wildlife.
Its small-size economy, high dependence on exports and imports, and exposure to natural disasters make the country particularly vulnerable to terms-of-trade shocks and volatility. Real GDP growth slowed from 4.1 percent in 2014 to 2.9 in 2015, and contracted in 2016 at -1.5 percent (preliminary data), amid declining agricultural and fishery outputs and due to the impact of Hurricane Earl that hit Belize in August 2016. The fiscal situation in Belize remains difficult. On the upside, the US economic expansion has significantly boosted the tourism sector.
Last Updated: Apr 10, 2017