Category Archives: Tourism Announcements

Bonaire–The Green Destination with a Blue Economy

Can Bonaire become a better Green Destination with a Blue Economy?

On Thursday, October 26, 2017, the tourism office of Bonaire hosted their first Green Destination Conference. With many of Bonaire’s visitors having an active interest in nature, clean energy, and proper waste management, the conference provided attendees from Bonaire’s tourism sector with expert advice on how the island can become even more “green,” and, at the same time, develop a blue economy.

It’s not easy being “Green.”

Bonaire's windmill park at Morotin.In 2016, an initiative began to audit the results (at that time) of Bonaire’s efforts to become a sustainable, “green” destination. By definition, this incorporates more than just nature preservation and conservation, and includes the following aspects, which all must be present in some manner:

Bonaire is once again named to the Top 100 Sustainable Global Destinations for 2017!Bonaire’s strengths as a green destination.

Bonaire’s strengths were found to include:

Bonaire’s areas for improvement as a green destination.

The island’s challenges where improvement can be made were also identified:

  • Bonaire must address the issue of roaming animals which consume native flora
  • create better visitor monitoring with educational efforts as to how a visitor can minimize their footprint
  • climate resilience
  • additional wastewater management efforts
  • improving the local production of goods and local workforce
  • establishing sustainability standards for tourism businesses

Bonaire was awarded the Silver Quality Coast Award and named to the world’s Top 100 Sustainable Destinations.

Silver Quality Coast Award, awarded to Bonaire in 2016.For its efforts, Bonaire was awarded the Silver Quality Coast Award, an excellent result for the island’s initial effort, but clearly giving room for improvement.

Just last month, on World Tourism Day, Bonaire was delighted to announce that it had been named again to the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations.

What is a Blue Economy?

A destination with a Blue Economy recognizes ecosystems as its natural capital and protects and maintains them accordingly. Further, the destination aspires to social and economic stability through the use of clean technology and renewable energy. For a destination such as Bonaire, with much of tourism tied to the island’s marine habitats, having a Blue Economy is imperative. Bonaire wishes to become the first Blue Caribbean Destination, to add to its honors as a Green Destination.

Why should Bonaire strive to have a Blue Economy?

For decades, Bonaire has founded its tourism on the protection of its ecosystems. The establishment of Bonaire’s marine park has been held as the benchmark around the world for protection of coral reefs. Now, nearly all protected marine areas utilize a similar plan to protect their natural marine resources.

Tourism must serve as a stepping stone to the development and well-being of all those living on Bonaire. The island’s tourism must enable them to create a Blue Economy and live in harmony with nature.

Current nature-related projects on Bonaire.

Echo Foundation spearheads reforestation efforts on Bonaire.Bonaire is already active in a number of nature-related projects, including:

  • sustainable agriculture
  • nomination of the Bonaire National Marine Park as a World Heritage area
  • management of free-roaming herbivores, such as goats, pigs, and donkeys
  • reforestation
  • ecological rehabilitation of Lac Bay and the southern area of Bonaire
  • coral restoration
  • erosion control and habitat restoration
  • sustainable goat farming

A concerted effort in Bonaire’s wastewater management began in 2013.

From 2013 to 2015, the island was busy with the installation of a wastewater transport system and wastewater processing facility, which transforms wastewater into water suitable for agricultural irrigation.

Last year, in 2016, the wastewater plant reached a milestone, processing its 1000 batch of wastewater. Plans are in place to expand additional residential areas (Hato and Belnem) into the wastewater treatment program in the next year.

By processing the wastewater, ocean contamination is limited. The inclusion of the island’s ocean-side resorts is critical–Bonaire’s population hovers at around 20,000–still a small number of inhabitants. However, the island hosts approximately 130,000 stay-over visitors each year as well as about 400,000 cruise ship visitors in port for a day during the cruise season. The amount of waste generated by tourism must be managed, as it represents the majority of the waste-related footprint of the island. So although tourism brings benefits, it can also pose threats to a destination’s natural resources.

Nearly 40% of Bonaire’s energy needs are met with clean, renewable energy.

This is a staggeringly high percentage and Bonaire already provides the highest rate of clean energy within The Netherlands (European or Caribbean). This is mostly powered by the Morotin Wind Park, which was established in 2009, along with a solar-powered energy pilot program serving the needs of approximately 70-80 homes, which began in 2015. Plans are in place to increase the number of wind turbines at the Morotin Wind Park over the next five years, further increasing Bonaire’s use of clean, renewable energy.

Bonaire’s master plan for energy supply.

In addition to the expansion of the windmills, the island’s master plan for energy includes the following:

  • Alternative cleaner fossil fuels, including the development of an AlgaePARC
  • New motors designed with a dual-fuel aspect
  • Solar energy will become decentralized and more readily available to local businesses and residential homes
  • Seeking a better energy storage solution

What is an AlgaePARC?

Since photosynthesis performed by microscopic plants was responsible for the formation of earth’s fossil oil reserves millions of years ago, and, currently these reserves are declining, research is being conducted into the potential to use photosynthesis to (re)capture inorganic carbon and convert it into the organic molecules that are the feedstock of all carbon-based food and fuel available today.

Microalgae and cyanobacteria (also called phytoplankton by biologists) have great potential as a photosynthetic catalyst, as they have some important advantages over traditional agricultural crops. For example, the predicted areal productivities of microalgae are much higher and can be obtained without the use of arable land.

Many algal species are salt tolerant and therefore seawater can be used for cultivation, making Bonaire an ideal location for the cultivation of microalgae. Currently, those involved with the new AlgaePARC are researching which types of algae can best be cultivated here on Bonaire.

What is your impression of Bonaire as a Green Destination with a Blue Economy?

Please let us know how you think the island is progressing in its quest for continued sustainable tourism.  You may submit detailed feedback via the comment section below and you may respond in general terms, or cite specific areas of Bonaire, such as the Bonaire National Marine Park, the Washington-Slagbaai National Park, Lac Bay, etc.
We welcome your feedback!

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)


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


 

 

 

Bonaire Named Once Again in Top 100 Sustainable Destinations 2017

Last week, on World Tourism Day, the global listing for the top 100 Sustainable Destinations was revealed, and we are delighted to report that Bonaire is once again honored to be included.

Bonaire is once again named to the Top 100 Sustainable Global Destinations for 2017!These awards celebrate the efforts of tourism destinations’ responsible and sustainable visitor initiatives. Those making nominations were requested to provide extensive information about the destination, as well as its efforts to make itself and its stakeholders more sustainable for the benefit of visitors, its local communities, and the world. For 2017, 155 nominations from 57 countries around the world were received.

Nominees had to prove compliance with the 15 core criteria of the Green Destinations Standard, which include:

All nominations were evaluated by experts of the Green Destinations Top 100 Team and by members of the special Top 100 Selection Panel that included over 60 tourism sustainability experts.

The Top 100 initiative aims to recognize tourism destinations that have worked hard to make a difference and take sustainability seriously. Nevertheless, no destination is fully sustainable. In all selected destinations, there are important issues which remain and must be solved.

(Source:  TCB)


Subscribe to the free Bonaire Insider newsletter:


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


 

 

Bonaire’s Tourism Remains Stable in 2016

The Central Bureau of Statistics releases Bonaire’s 2016 tourism statistics indicating stability.

2016 Arrivals by air and via cruise ship.

2016 tourism arrival statistics.In 2016, Bonaire received approximately 136,000 tourists who arriving by air. This number is, more or less, the same as in 2015. A total of 217,000 cruise ship passengers visited Bonaire, down 6% from the previous year.

The drop in cruise ship arrivals was partly related to the fact that several previously announced cruises to Bonaire were cancelled, and also to Hurricane Matthew, which swept through the Caribbean between late September and early October.

2016 overnight stays are in excess of 1 million.

In 2016, one in ten air tourist arrivals on Bonaire only stayed on the island for one day, not spending the night. The majority of those who did stay overnight did so for one to seven days, with a peak at seven days. Altogether, tourists spent around 1.1 million nights on Bonaire last year.

Origin of inbound tourists.

Bonaire's 2016 statistics for tourists by country of origin.

The island of Bonaire, along with sister islands Saba and St Eustatius, mainly attract tourists from the European Netherlands, the Caribbean Netherlands, and the United States. Most visitors on the three islands are between 30 and 60 years old.

(Source:  Central Bureau of Statistics, Caribbean Netherlands)

 


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


Washington Slagbaai National Park Remains Closed After Heavy Rains

Washington Slagbaai National Park temporarily closed.

Unfortunately, Bonaire’s Washington Slagbaai National Park remains temporarily closed as the northern part of the island received torrential rains on Friday, April 14th, 2017.

Heavy rains caused flooding in Bonaire's Washington Slagbaai National ParkRainfall in the park totaled 65.3 mm/2.57 inches in three hours, causing flooding and damage to the roads.  Although the park staff has been working tirelessly to get the park ready for visitors once again, the park remains closed until another assessment can be made this weekend.  The earliest the park might be open for traffic is Monday, April 24th, 2017, but STINAPA will evaluate if that is possible this weekend.

In the meantime, the museum, Kasikunda Trail, and the Lagadishi Trail are open for visitors, and entrance to the park is free during this interim period.

For additional information, you may contact Washington Slagbaai National Park at telephone 788-9015.

Note Update April 24, 2017:  We are happy to report that Washington Slagbaai National Park is now open with normal hours.

(Source:  STINAPA)

 


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


Free WiFi Hot-spot in Wilhelmina Park in Kralendijk

Visitors can pick up free WiFi via a hot-spot in Kralendijk’s Wilhelmina Park.

Last week, officials from Island Government, Tourism Corporation Bonaire, and Digicel launched a new service for Bonaire’s visitors and residents who are frequently in Wilhelmina Park, in downtown Kralendijk.  Effective immediately, a free WiFi hot-spot has been created.

Free wifi hotspot in Wilhelmina Park, BonaireInstructions to access the hot-spot.

To access the hot-spot, you will need a Facebook login to verify your identity. To find the connection on your wireless device, simply search for the signal “Welcome to Bonaire” and follow the login instructions.  You will receive 30 minutes of WiFi free, and, should additional time be needed, you will be prompted to purchase more minutes to continue on the high-speed Internet.

This service is provided thanks to a coordination of efforts between Bonaire’s tourism office, Digicel (one of the island’s mobile providers), and the Protestant Church, for assisting with installation locations.

(Source:  TCB)

 


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


Washington-Slagbaai National Park Re-Opens After Heavy Rains

Washington Slagbaai National Park re-opens after Bonaire’s recent rains.

Washington Park is once again open to all traffic as of today, January 19th.  The park was recently forced to close after frequent rains, which affected the roads throughout the park.

Additionally, STINAPA has announced that the park will be closed on Sunday, January 22nd, 2017, for repair to the roads which suffered damage from the heavy rains.

If you have plans to visit the park in the coming days, give the park a call at 788-9015 to be sure they are open, especially if the rains continue, as the situation can be amended at any time due to the weather conditions.

(Source:  STINAPA)

 

 

 

 

The Silver Quality Coast Award is Bestowed Upon Bonaire

Bonaire has just been awarded another major accolade, the Silver Quality Coast Award.

Recently, The Netherlands Minister of Economic Affairs, Mr. Henk Kamp, awarded Bonaire with the Silver Quality Coast Award, presented to the island’s Director of Tourism, Mr. Maurice Adriaens, during a recent Bonaire Economic Conference.

About the Silver Quality Coast Award.

silver_medal_verticalThe Silver Quality Coast Award is an award developed by the Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC). This is a part of the “Green Deal” for sustainable tourism that was initiated in November, 2014 and runs through December, 2016. The aim of this initiative is to promote the sustainability of destinations, such as Bonaire.

This must be achieved by developing a joint vision on the manner in which the sustainability of the destination, along with the development of processes and resources, are considered. These criteria provide a measurement as to the sustainability of the destination.

How Did Bonaire Qualify for the Silver Quality Coast Award?

In recent weeks, Bonaire hosted  personnel who visited to make their initial assessment as to whether Bonaire is a green destination. Various Bonaire stakeholders were interviewed as well. After successfully completing the assessment, Bonaire was awarded the Silver Award.

Gold is the New Goal.

Having attained Silver status, Bonaire’s tourism entity, Tourism Corporation Bonaire, now has plans to jointly work together with the island’s private sector tourism providers to make improvements, which need to take place within one year in order to acquire a higher ranking for the next Bonaire Green Destination Assessment.

What is the Green Deal?

Green Deal is a collaboration between The Netherlands and the United Kingdom to support each other on individual efforts, especially in priority areas such as sustainable energy, nature management, sustainable tourism, and waste policy.

(Source:  TCB)

Austin & Lorrie Headland Honored as Gold Bonaire Ambassadors

20151029-Headland1Last evening on the pier table at Sebastian’s Restaurant, Austin and Lorrie Headland were honored by Rolando Marin, of the Tourism Corporation Bonaire, for their dedicated annual visits to Bonaire.

The couple has been visiting Bonaire each year for over 21 years, and in some years, visited twice.  They hail from Alabama in the United States, and even though they habitually travel to other dive locations, they admit that Bonaire is the destination that they continue to return to year after year.

20151029-Headland2Both Austin and Lorrie are divers, and underwater photographers as well.  Although they do spend long hours underwater (many dives reach almost two hours in length), they also enjoy just kicking back and enjoying the island.  Over the years, they have made many friends on Bonaire.

Chef Sebastian himself placed their honorary gold medals, when they were dining at his restaurant.

Congratulations, Austin and Lorrie, and continue to visit for many more years!  (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

 

Bonaire’s Tourism (Arriving by Air) Increases 5% in First Half 2015

As reported by Statistics Netherlands, Bonaire received 5% more air passengers as tourists in the first half of 2015 than in the same period in 2014.

In the first half of 2015, 68.8 thousand tourists landed on Bonaire, an increase of over 5% compared to the first six months in 2014. April 2015 was an especially high month, when Bonaire saw 1,300 more tourist than the year before for the same month.

20151027-Arrivals

More than half of the tourists flying to Bonaire were Dutch nationals. Of this group, 29%lived in the European part of the Netherlands, while the other 25% were Dutch nationals who lived outside of the Netherlands. Those from the United States formed the second largest group of tourists with 23%.

(Source:  RCN)

InfoBonaire, The Bonaire Information Site, Launches New Website

Since 1998, InfoBonaire has been providing the latest news and information about tourism to Bonaire.  The new website continues to include important information on planning a visit to Bonaire, including how to get to Bonaire, available accommodations, or activities for your vacation to the island.  However, the new site also has expanded sections which provide glimpses into a Bonaire that many visitors miss.

For example, the new cultural section includes information about Maskarada, Simadan, and other aspects of Bonaire’s culture where tourists are always welcome to join in with the festivities.

The Activities section has been also expanded and now includes information on hiking within Washington-Slagbaai National Park or taking unique tours which are off the beaten path.

The News & Events section includes a calendar of events for the next year, information about annual events on Bonaire, such as the upcoming Sailing Regatta, and even The Bonaire Insider shares its news via the InfoBonaire.com site.  Those wishing to subscribe to the free news alerts can do so easily on any page of the site.

And what would Bonaire be without its nature?  Bonaire’s underwater environment is well known around the world, but many visitors overlook the terrestrial habitat, which can be just as stunning.  This section on the island’s nature will keep you informed with the latest information–just like Bonaire’s new Yarari Shark & Marine Mammal Sanctuary.

The new web site has over 200 pages of information about Bonaire, and you are invited to spend a few minutes perusing the site.  Navigation is clear and it is easy to find just the information you seek, either through the main navigation or simply search at the top of any page.  The site is fully responsive, so it displays well on any device from phone to tablet or desktop system.

As always, best efforts are made to insure that information is updated as needed, but your comments are always welcome at questions@infobonaire.com.

(Source:  NetTech NV)

 

 

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