Tourism Bonaire shows strong recovery after COVID-19 Pandemic

Bonhata CEO told the audience how the average occupancy of 2021 of only 27% has grown again to over 82% in the second quarter of 2022. Photo’s: ABC Online Media

KRALENDIJK- Tourism on Bonaire has recovered for about 70% of the damage caused by the Coronapandemic.

This much became clear during a meeting of key stakeholders on Friday afternoon, to discuss the figures for the second quarter. Speakers included Commissioner of Tourism Hennyson Thielman, TCB director Miles Mercera, Jody Diamond who is responsible for promotion in the United States, Onno de Jong of Bonaire Airport, Veroushka de Windt from the Bonaire Hotel and Tourism Association (Bonhata) and last harbour master Gunther Flanegin.

Almost all signs are currently on green. The number of flights is equal or greater than before the Pandemic, the hotel rooms are well occupied and the cruise ships are returning to the port of the island.


Although not everyone is yet convinced of the new course of the TCB, it must be admitted that the Tourism Office now has a nearly dizzying amount of statistics. For example, the TCB knows exactly where people come from, how long on average they stay on the island, with which airline they fly, how far in advance they book, what they mainly come to do and what they spend. This allows for a focused approach when it comes to deciding what the marketing dollars are mostly used for.

However, not everything is smooth sailing in the tourism sector. For example, Harbour master Flanegin said that while the number of cruise ships is almost back to old levels, the number of people she brings to the island is significantly behind the figures from before COVID.

Veroeshka de Windt spoke, among others, about the challenges to find staff for hotels and restaurants


Commissioner Thielman did not avoid more sensitive subjects during his presentation. “We know that many people think that things should be done differently when it comes to the future of Tourism on the island and we listen carefully to that. However, I ask for some patience. Changes take time and that is no different in this case. However, the deputy also pointed out that the tourist industry is still an enormous economic factor”, said Thielman. 

Thielman added that Bonaire’s Government of course would like to see that people in the sector earn more and that livelihoods do really improve. “But for that, the dollars generated by Tourism are desperately needed,” concluded Thielman.

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