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The recently released Caribbean cruise analysis conducted by US-based research firm BREA (Business Research & Economic Advisors), reveals $9.4 million in total cruise tourism expenditures in Bonaire during the 2014/2015 cruise year, specifically in the categories of shore excursions, watches and jewelry, clothing, food and beverages and local crafts. 

The study showed that cruise passengers were very satisfied with their “overall visit” to Bonaire, giving a mean rate of 7.6 and a 7.0 for “visit met expectations”. The “guided tours” received the highest score of all visit attributes with a mean score of 8.4. This indicates passengers were very satisfied with their onshore excursions on the island.

The cruise passengers were also very satisfied with the “initial onshore welcome” score 7.6 and “taxis and local transportation” received a score of 7.4, passenger interactions with residents and store employees were positive as the mean scores for “friendliness of residents” score 8.3 and “courtesy of employees” score 8.1 were both in the ‘very satisfied’ range. Passengers were very satisfied with their “overall shopping experience” score 7.0, but they were somewhat less satisfied with the “variety of shops” score 6.4 and the “overall prices score 6.8.

Based on data collected from the Tourism Corporation of Bonaire, 181,830 cruise passengers arrived aboard cruise ships during the 2014/2015-cruise year. Of these, an estimated eighty-one (81%) disembarked and visited Bonaire. Utilizing additional data provided by the Tourism Corporation and visiting cruise lines, 47,275 crew were aboard the cruise ships and thirty-seven percent (37%) disembarked and visited the destination.

According to the BREA study findings, onshore visits of cruise passengers and crew contributed a total of $9.4 million in direct cruise tourism expenditures into Bonaire’s economy; $8 million of which was spent by the estimated 146,737 cruise passengers that visited and $523,323 by the estimated 17,511 crew for the entire 2014/2015 cruise year. Cruise visitors to Bonaire registered an average per passenger expenditure of $54.22.

Further to that end, the $9.4 million in total cruise tourism expenditures has allowed for the generation of direct employment of 116 Bonaire residents and paying $1.9 million in annual wages.

“This research further solidifies the potential that Bonaire’s Cruise Tourism continues to demonstrate, and we are pleased with the level of cruise tourist spending we are seeing, however there is room for improvement” said Malinda Hassell, Marketing Manager, Tourism Corporation Bonaire. “The areas of expenditure concentration are clear indications of our strengths as a cruise destination and we must continue to develop them and also focus our efforts on making an impact in additional categories.” 

The BREA study was conducted under the support of the FCCA (Florida Caribbean Cruise Association) to analyze the contribution of cruise tourism on the economies of 35 destinations located in the Caribbean and Central and South America including Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; the Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bonaire; the British Virgin Islands; Cabo San Lucas; the Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Maya; Costa Rica; Cozumel; Curacao; Dominica; the Dominican Republic; Ensenada; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Mazatlán; Nicaragua; Progreso; Puerto Rico (San Juan); Puerto Vallarta; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Maarten; Tobago; Trinidad; the Turks and Caicos; and the US Virgin Islands.