Kralendijk- The strategic plan commissioned by the Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB) and compiled by the the Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies (DPITS) at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida outlines a strategy to increase tourist arrival by a total of 60,000 from its current number of about 140,000 to a total of 200.000 in a time span of 10 years.
According to the plan, this growth entails a 5% increase per year on average and should be feasible based on the growth experience of the past five years.
The plan states that the increased demand will be primarily generated from the Dutch, the North American market (including USA and Canada), and regional markets. Secondary markets in Europe, including Germany and Belgium, and Latin America, including Colombia and Brazil, could eventually also be pursued, based on a number of considerations such as an expected turn on investments made.
The attraction of these additional 60.000 new arrivals should, according by the experts of the University of Central Florida, support the objective of converting Bonaire to a high-end destination, which means that at least 20.000 arrivals should stay in four star hotels on the island. These four star hotels should include in total at least 600 new hotel rooms.
According to calculations made during the study, the direct economic impact of the additional 60,000 tourists would increase income from tourism from US$229 million in 2017 to nearly US$400 million in 2027. The addition of 600 new hotel rooms would, according to the plan, create 2,400 new jobs. These jobs are not all created in the hotels itself, but estimates one job added in the hotel, one in the tourist sector, and two jobs in the private and public sectors.
The plan also states that the pace of building new hotels should resonate with the authentic nature of the Bonaire’s population. Therefore, hotels should according to the tourism experts be built based on local labor supply and the ability to attract Bonaire born people from overseas.
The plan underlines that ‘authenticity’ is the core fiber of a unique Bonairian product that reflects history, culture, and nature. The plan encourages a product development strategy that focuses on island diversity (region and culture) as well as the use of everyday practice and social protocols (local festivities, etc.) as inputs of offerings.