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Bonaire’s future tourism plan to extend eco-tourism.

Yesterday, Bonaire’s Executive Council, on the proposal of Deputy Elvis Tjin Asjoe of Economic Development and Tourism, decided to explore the possibilities of making Bonaire more attractive for eco-tourism for Bonaire’s future tourism plan. The main economic assets of the island are nature, space, tranquility, and authenticity. They are decisive for the prosperity and well-being of the population, who depend heavily on tourism for their income.

Bonaire’s future tourism will transition from mass tourism to quality tourism.

Growth cannot continue unrestrained. The Executive Council is, therefore, committed to a transition from mass to quality tourism, in line with the Strategic Tourism Plan and the Blue Destination concept. The corona crisis is an additional reason to accelerate this process: international tourism will take quite some time to recover, with destinations that offer visitors peace, space, and nature being preferred by travelers with high expectations for their holidays.

Tourism on Bonaire currently concentrates on the coastal strip. The spread of residential tourism is in keeping with the post-corona era, but it is also in line with the ambition of the Nature and Environmental Policy Plan for the Caribbean Netherlands 2020-2030: Preserving and protecting nature and making sustainable use of it as a contribution to economic development.”

The Executive Council wants to initiate a discussion with stakeholders from tourism and nature organizations about the possibility to give concrete form to this ambition that fits in with the sustainable society that Bonaire wants to be, is in line with the Strategic Tourism Plan, accelerates the desired transition to quality tourism, new generates employment and benefits nature.

Develop more sustainable tourism by giving additional legal protection to additional nature areas.

Bonaire has a relatively large amount of scenic space with great value. Little or no activities are carried out on a number of former plantations. They lend themselves ideally to being developed for sustainable tourism by making them accessible in an ecologically responsible manner for recreational and tourism purposes.

One option which Bonaire’s Executive Council intends to investigate (in consultation with stakeholders) is the feasibility in selecting eligible areas that can then be placed under legal protection.  Installing fences and removing any goats and donkeys will help the natural flora to flourish.   Walking and cycling trails can be placed on small-scale routes.

This plan for Bonaire’s future tourism provides definite advantages:

  • Bonaire makes itself more attractive to visitors who consciously choose a sustainable destination that offers peace, space, and authenticity and who are willing to pay more for it.
  • The spread of residential tourism is in line with the requirements imposed on tourism in the post-corona era but also makes Bonaire more attractive for tourists who are not focused on the beach/sea.
  • Alternative employment for workers who currently earn their livings with cruise tourism.
  • Better nature management and expansion of recreational opportunities for the local population.
  • Undesirable developments in areas of scenic value are prevented.

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(Source:  OLB)

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Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, a certified bird guide, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 


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