Six Questions To Ask Before Investing In A Caribbean Destination  

The Caribbean and adjacent Central American Regions are gaining significant popularity among tourists and foreign investors. As the world normalizes post-pandemic, the Caribbean has become a tourism hotspot.

North American tourists are increasingly opting to stay closer to home to cut down on travel time and avoid inconveniences brought on by the pandemic. Instead of far-off exotic destinations, tourists are flocking to Caribbean and Central American destinations (the “Region”) for their accessibility and appeal.

It’s not just tourists flocking to the Region. Retirees are also attracted to the Region because of the relatively low cost of living.

With many Americans falling short of their goal of having sufficient funds for retirement, a close offshore destination in the Region with good weather and low cost of living is a big draw for retirees from North America.

Foreign investors have noticed the increased traffic to the Caribbean and are pouring money into the Region. According to The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) World Investment Report 2022, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America and the Caribbean grew 56% post-pandemic in 2021.

As popular as the Caribbean is currently for foreign investment, this popularity may gain even more traction if economists’ predictions of a recession come to pass and investors seek to diversify their portfolios with offshore assets insulated from domestic economic problems.

It should come as no surprise then that much of the foreign investment directed towards the Region is focused on real estate – both vacation real estate to satisfy tourist demand and residential real estate to meet retiree demand.

With the many options for investment, what questions should you ask before committing your capital to a particular destination?  

  • Is there room for growth?
  • Is the government stable, and are there potential language barriers?
  • Is the tax regime friendly?
  • Is it accessible?
  • Does it have broad appeal?
  • Does it have a diverse culture?

If you’re looking for a place to park your capital in the Region, there isn’t a better spot than Belize, which should check off all your boxes of what you’re looking for in a place to invest.  

How does Belize stack up to the questions you should ask when deciding where to invest?

Is there room for growth?

Tourism in Belize is at an all-time high. Over the last 20 years, Belize has seen a steadily increasing number of visitors as its popularity has grown in the public eye. Tourism is continually growing in Belize, consistently growing by over 20% annually. Its tourism industry is the fastest-growing market in the entire Caribbean and Central America region, growing faster than the markets of The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Mexico. Post-pandemic, with the increased demand for adventure travel and eco-tourism, Belize has gained even more in popularity.

Adventure travel will increasingly grow in appeal as travelers seek safe as well as relaxing destinations with nature, outdoor, and adventure activities. Belize has so much to offer for this type of tourist.

Is the government stable, and are there potential language barriers?

A member of the British Commonwealth, English is the official language of Belize, and its legal system is based on British common law. Real estate transactions, legal contracts, and business affairs can all be handled easily without language barriers. As a result, Belize has a stable, democratic government with a stable and balanced economy.  

Is the tax regime friendly?

There is no capital gains tax and no estate tax in Belize. Residents enjoy tax breaks not found in other countries, and the fact that foreigners can gain residency through owning property makes Belize even more attractive. There is no capital gains tax, and property taxes in Belize are low. Most property owners can expect to pay only a few hundred dollars for their property.

Is it accessible?

Belize is highly accessible and convenient – making it easy for you to check on your investments. With two major airports currently operating, Belize is easy to get to with direct flights offered by all the major airlines from Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and even Newark.

In the U.S., Miami is a 2-hour flight, a 2.5-hour flight to Houston, and a short distance to many other U.S. locations. With flight times as short as two hours, Belize is conveniently located.

Does it have broad appeal?

Because of its biodiversity, Belize attracts a broad spectrum of tourists, and because of its friendly laws pertaining to ex-pats, it has broad appeal for retirees. Regarding physical attractions, tourists are drawn to Belize’s diversity, including the following destinations: Ambergris Caye, The Great Blue Hole, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Caye Caulker, and Cayo District, to name just a few.

In terms of appeal to potential retirees, Belize has implemented a program that allows foreign “Qualified Retired Persons” to apply for long-term residency in Belize and, if accepted, to live in Belize completely tax-free for life. The simple process of qualifying as a Qualified Retired Person exempts retirees from the payment of all taxes and levies on all income or receipts which accrue from a source outside of Belize (whether income is from work performed or an investment).  

Does it have a diverse culture?

For its size, Belize is ethnically diverse. Meztizos, Creoles, and Garifuna are the three largest groups with 49%, 25%, and 6%, respectively, while Mayans consisting of three denominations – the Q’eqchi’, Yucatec and Mopan Mayas – collectively make up 11%. Other diverse and eclectic ethnic groups comprise the rest of the population, including Mennonite, East-Indian, Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian inhabitants. This ethnic diversity makes for a rich cultural experience – making for a rich, diverse culinary experience for all the foodies looking for the ultimate experience.

Investors looking to invest in the Caribbean and Central America regions should give Belize a serious, long, hard look. It is appealing in so many ways and checks off all the important boxes of what to look for as an investment destination.

Besides its investment appeal, there is no better place to visit to check up on your investment than Belize because of its biodiversity and diverse culture.