Bonaire’s cruise tourism garners return on its investment


Kralendijk – The recently released Caribbean cruise analysis, conducted by US-based research firm BREA (Business Research & Economic Advisors), reveals $30.2 million cruise tourism expenditures in Bonaire during the 2017/2018 cruise year. Specifically in the categories of shore excursions, watches and jewelry, clothing, food and beverages and local crafts. 

The study showed that cruise passengers were very satisfied with their “overall visit” to Bonaire, giving an average rate of 8.2 and a 7.6 for “visit met expectations”. Both average rates were respectively 7.6 and 7.0 in the previous study conducted by the same organization in 2014/2015. The “guided tours” received the highest score of all visit attributes with a score of 8.9; we also see positive increase in this score which in the previous study was 8.4. This indicates passengers were very satisfied with their onshore excursions on the island.

The cruise passengers were also very satisfied with the “initial onshore welcome” score 7.9 and “taxis and local transportation” received a score of 7.9. Passenger interactions with residents and store employees were positive as the scores for “friendliness of residents” score 8.5 and “courtesy of employees” score 8.4 were both in the ‘very satisfied’ range. Passengers were very satisfied with their “overall shopping experience” score 7.8, but they were somewhat less satisfied with the “variety of shops” score 7.4 and the “overall prices score 7.5.


Based on data collected from the Tourism Corporation of Bonaire, 481,116 cruise passengers arrived aboard cruise ships during the 2017/2018 cruise year. This is more than double the passengers reported in the 2014/2015 study. Of these, an estimated 378,638 passengers (79%) disembarked and visited Bonaire. Utilizing additional data provided by the Tourism Corporation and visiting cruise lines, 190,500 crew members were aboard the cruise ships and 35 percent, or 67,000 crew members disembarked and visited the destination.

According to the BREA study findings, onshore visits of cruise passengers and crew contributed a total of $30.2 million in direct cruise tourism expenditures into Bonaire’s economy. For the entire 2017/2018 cruise year, the estimated 378,638 cruise passengers who visited Bonaire spent a total of $25.4 million ($US) in Bonaire. For the entire 2017/2018 cruise year, the estimated 67,035 crew members who visited Bonaire spent an estimated total of nearly $3.0 million ($US). Cruise visitors to Bonaire registered an average per passenger expenditure of $67.19 which is a very positive increase compared to the $54.22 calculated in 2014/2015 for average expenditure.

Further to that end, the $30.2 million cruise tourism expenditures has allowed for the generation of direct employment of 311 Bonaire residents and paying $5.18 million in annual wages, in which Bonaire can also see  a very positive growth compared to 2014/2015.

The BREA study

The BREA study was conducted under the support of the FCCA (Florida Caribbean Cruise Association) to analyze the contribution of cruise tourism on the economies of 35 destinations located in the Caribbean and Central and South America including Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; the Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bonaire; the British Virgin Islands; Cabo San Lucas; the Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Maya; Costa Rica; Cozumel; Curacao; Dominica; the Dominican Republic; Ensenada; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Mazatlán; Nicaragua; Progreso; Puerto Rico (San Juan); Puerto Vallarta; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Maarten; Tobago; Trinidad; the Turks and Caicos; and the US Virgin Islands.

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