Kralendijk- The new Bonaire Cruise Tourism Association (BCTA) has started to push back against ideas from the Executive Council on a somewhat more more restricted cruise tourism for the island.
In a letter to the Executive Council, marked as ‘urgent’ and shared in the local media, BCTA express their concern about the approach of Government was well as recent sounds of the Executive Council in meetings for the Cruise Industry in Florida.
“The section about cruise tourism in the recovery plan is by no means a recovery plan, but resembles a liquidation plan for the cruise sector in Bonaire. The government did not consult with the sector when making the recovery plan and therefore, the recovery plan contains a lot of elements that are neither workable nor realistic”, according to BCTA.
According to the association the plans regarding the cruise sector in the recovery plan are by no means based on valid research, not scientifically substantiated and are not in line with the strategic tourism master plan (STMP) 2017-2027.
BCTA assert in their latter that what they describe as ’the Thielman delegation’ had discussed what they describe as ’the controversial elements from the unsubstantiated recovery plan’ during the conference in Miami. “This creates unnecessary consternation among long time and long term valued partners. The visit of delegation Thielman is expected to cause a lot of economic damage in the tourism industry of Bonaire and in particular for the entrepreneurs and local workers who are directly or indirectly connected to the cruise industry”.
The BCTA also expresses in their letter the fear that hundreds of jobs are at risk. Cruise lines, small and large, are reconsidering Bonaire after the Thielman delegation’s visit to Miami.
The Executive Council seems to be caught in an heated debate between those who see Cruise Tourism as negative for the island, and those who are actually dependent on the continuation of the Cruise Industry on the island, equal to the way it was before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It will require a careful balancing act on behalf of Thielman and his advisors to lead the discussion in the right way, thereby keeping both sides of the discussion ‘on board’.