wind turbine park, a recompression chamber for dive visitors and a
tourism awareness initiative whose slogan promotes the smiles of
the people of Bonaire are helping propel the Dutch Caribbean island
to a "solid" tourism year, according to Ronella Croes, director of
Tourism Corporation Bonaire.
"Overall tourism to
Bonaire showed significant increases in the first quarter of 2007.
Growth is on our agenda, and we will add 600 new hotel rooms in the
next few years to our inventory," Croes said.
Along with an
increase in the hotel product comes a number of enhancements to the
visitor experience, which will help increase repeat visitors, she
initiative, which will be implemented island-wide over the next
three years, is designed "to educate the Bonairean community on the
role it plays in the tourism product," according to the director.
One of the components of the program already in place is the
official slogan, "Smile. Bonaire is Sweet."
Goals of the
campaign include educating residents about the island's dependence
on tourism and the changes taking place within the tourism
industry; the efforts undertaken on Bonaire in the areas of
ecotourism, nature and marine preservation; and the importance of
service with a smile.
Construction of a wind-turbine park, the first step in a
wind/biodiesel project that will provide Bonaire with 40% of its
electricity needs by the end of 2008. By 2010, Bonaire hopes to
harness all of its electrical energy from renewable
" Funding for a new recompression
chamber. The chamber is essential to Bonaire, which depends on the
dive tourism market, according to Burney el Hage, minister of
economics and labor. Although the chamber Bonaire has used for many
years is functioning, "it is time to replace it while it still is
in good working order," the minister said.
" Wireless Internet service,
offering 15 hot spots where signals can be received on a laptop.
The price is approximately $3 per hour or $28 for 15
" Renovations to the Touch, the
on-site spa at the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino. The
resort offers free Internet access throughout the
" Two weekly, nonstop Continental
Airlines flights from Newark and a daily nonstop from
" The launch of a new Web site by
Bonaire's national parks, at www.stinapa.org.
" Also in the news, Capt. Don
Stewart, Bonaire's pioneer of marine conservation, recently
celebrated the 45th anniversary of his arrival on
presented with an award by Tourism Corporation Bonaire for his
contributions to the island's tourism development.
contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].