Delegation to Miami to Discuss Bonaire as a Cruise Destination

Kralendijk – The role of Bonaire and the wishes of the island as a cruise destination will be discussed this week during a conference in Miami. For this, a Bonaire delegation consisting of the Commissioner for Economic Development Hennyson Thielman, harbor master Gunther Flanegin and the Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB) traveled to Miami Florida.

The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association – FCCA’s “Return to Sail” summit will bring together cruise lines and destinations in the cruise industry. There they talk about the developments in the cruise industry and the resumption of cruise travel.

Bonaire is participating in this conference with the intention of sharing the island’s vision for future cruise ship visits. Now that Bonaire is about to start over, this is a good opportunity to make changes. There are several options for restructuring and introducing a more balanced policy. With the recovery plan for tourism, the Public Entity Bonaire has already made the decision not to allow more than one cruise ship per day to call on the island and to focus on more quality tourism. With a limit of a maximum of 1 cruise ship per day, the aim is to limit congestion in the inner city and provide space to attract tourists who have a more generous budget and spend more on the island.

Another change that the delegation wants to bring up is the increase in the tourist tax that will also apply to cruise tourists arriving on Bonaire, in order to replace the so-called ‘head tax’. The increase in this tax will provide more money in the government coffers to reinvest in facilities and infrastructure for society and the tourism sector.

The Bonaire delegation will also talk about all kinds of requirements that as an island will demand from cruise ships in the coming years. Given the direction to be a Blue Destination Island and policies related to the Tourism Recovery Plan, they will require cruise ships to meet sustainability requirements that align with the vision of protecting the environment.

Another interesting theme is the possibility for cruise lines to invest in tourist attractions and nature on the island. Facilities created or enhanced with these investments are not only intended for tourists, but also for the local people to enjoy. This is a strategy to capitalize and take more advantage of the cruise ships. “The cruise industry generates currency. Many people depend on this industry and the sector provides about 200 direct and 600 indirect jobs. At the same time, we believe that the industry should be more in line with our environmental goals, be better organised, employ better crowd management and make better use of the cruise market. In collaboration with the TCB, they want to coordinate these aspects and do something that is different,” said Hennyson Thielman, Commissioner for economic development.

The trip to meet multiple cruise lines is part of the preparations to receive cruise ships on the island again, possibly in September. It will be made clear that this is a tentative date and subject to a decision under the Covid policy, under other conditions for testing.

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