NEW YORK -- Organizers of next year's eighth annual Bonaire Dive
Festival extended the event to two weeks and eliminated participant
The festival, now set to run June 5 to 19, will feature a wide
range of events, including a food-and-culture fest; guided dives, a
dive-wear fashion show and dive equipment demos; underwater
photography workshops and a photo contest; a restaurant tour; and a
This year's event also offers more freedom for participants,
according to organizers, thanks to first-ever official government
Previously a private-sector affair underwritten by up to four
official hotels, the Bonaire Dive Festival has become so important
to the inbound market that the state-run Tourism Corp. Bonaire
stepped in to sponsor the event along with Scuba Diving magazine
and the Coral Reef Alliance, in order to broaden festival access
For example, the new "top-side" activities are designed to
appeal to partners and families accompanying diver attendees.
"[Next] year's Dive Festival gives attendees the freedom to
truly customize their own program, staying as long as they choose,
doing as little or as much as they choose, and participating in
those activities that interest them the most," said tourism
commissioner Burney el Hage, in a statement.
Information packets on festival events will be available at all
island hotels, "many of which are formulating their own packages,"
said a spokes-man at the New York offices of Tourism Corp.
Many events are tied to next year's theme of marine ecological
preservation. For instance, famed marine artist Wyland will invite
festival visitors to join him in mural painting.
For more information, visit the official festival Web site at www.bonairedivefestival.com. Or contact Tourism Corp.
Bonaire at (800) BONAIRE or www.infobonaire.com.
To contact reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected]ntmllc.com.