Bonaire’s tourism recovered from the pandemic
January 18, 2023
An estimated 170,194 international visitors traveled to Bonaire in 2022, an increase of 12,394 more international arrivals than in 2019. This increase exceeds its pre-pandemic level in line with the Tourism Master Plan and the Tourism Recovery plan. Strong pent-up demand, improved confidence levels, the lifting of restrictions in source countries, and an increasing airlift to the island boosted results. Highlighting the speed at which the sector has recovered from the worst crisis in its history, the most recent figures revealed that the island welcomed 17,162 stayover visitors in December, making it the best-performing month of 2022. The second half of 2022 saw a record entry collection fee exceeding $5.6 million, which is higher than anticipated. The past 6 months has shown that the Netherlands continues to lead as Bonaire’s most prominent source market (47% of the island’s total), followed by the United States of America (26%) and Curaçao (12%). The age distribution of the international visitors reveals a dominant presence of Generation X and Boomers (age group between 45 and 65+). Their visit was to dive, relax, and rest, and they stayed between seven and fourteen nights on Bonaire. They spend the most on accommodation, food and beverage, and transportation.
The cruise industry reached 66% of its pre-pandemic level in 2022. 304,298 (based on the actual cruise visitors on ship) cruise visitors were on the island in 2022 compared to 457,700 (based on the maximum capacity of the ship) in 2019.
In partnership with OLB and BONHATA, the TCB is tweaking its plans to better align its tourism plans with the new normal in the post-pandemic era. One of its main objectives is to shift its strategic focus to attract a more affluent and eco-conscious visitor (global citizen) and to increase the demand from the North American Market.
According to the TCB CEO, Mr. Miles Mercera, “2022 was a watershed year showing a strong rebound and recovery of the tourism sector. TCB recognizes and applauds the partnership and commitment of all stakeholders in realizing these results and remains committed to continue to pursue a sustainable tourism industry focusing on authenticity, culture, and Bonaire’s unique identity.”