Government and Tourism Corporation Bonaire announces the restart of cruise tourism after 17 months

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KRALENDIJK, Bonaire  – The government of Bonaire together with Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB) and all other stakeholders affiliated with the cruise operations are preparing to start the cruise season once again after 17 months of a full stop of the industry due to the current pandemic.

On September 2, 2021, Bonaire will be welcoming its first cruise vessel back to the island. The first cruise ship to arrive will be Equinox of Celebrity Cruises. The ship departs from Florida and will visit the Bahamas, Aruba, Curaçao and then Bonaire. According to projections, the estimated capacity of each ship visiting Bonaire ranges between 20 and 40 percent, thus, we are expecting a less busy restart of the cruise season for 2021.

Due to the level of COVID-19 risks, new strict measures are being adopted for port entry. Some of these measures entail clearance from the port authority and from Public Health Bonaire, requirements for disembarkation including a cruise ship corona check at disembarkation for all passengers and crew. Fully vaccinated travelers (12 years and older) must show their proof of full vaccination and a negative PCR test not older than 24 hours before departure from home port.

Not (fully) vaccinated travelers are required to show, apart from a negative PCR test, an antigen test not older than 24 hours before arrival to our island. Crew and passengers will not be allowed to disembark if they do not comply with these measures. In order to ensure the safety of everyone, security guards and qualified personnel will actively check if all the travelers visiting Bonaire meet these requirements.

Everyone on the dock, including locals and tourists are required to wear a face mask and also maintain 1.5-meter social distance on island. Everyone travelling by bus or taxi on our island is required to wear a face mask.

“We are happy with the restart of the cruise tourism; this will mean the restart of more economic activity on our island after the pandemic. Our goal is to maintain the cruise industry but introducing a few changes in order to deal better with crowd management and to attract the type of tourist who are able to spend more on our island. One of the changes is the one call a day protocol and to create a better balance in the number of cruise ships during the super high and low seasons. Because of current contracts, this can take some time, but the cruise ships are open and willing to help us with this goal where possible.

“Of course, next to stimulating our economy our aim is to preserve the health and safety of our local community and the ones visiting us, hence why different measures are in place to ensure the safety of all of us”, according to Hennyson Thielman, commissioner of tourism and economic affairs.

This approach has been the result of an evaluation during the downtime of cruise to limit the impact on environment, infrastructure, focusing on quality and not quantity, and also focusing on the economic impact as part of the Tourism Recovery Plan.

Kaya C.E.B. Hellmund will be partially closed during cruise visits: from Luciano’s till the Customs office. Everyone adhering to the TCB Cruise operating standards needs to wear a badge which allows them to operate within the City Center boundaries during the Cruise Season.

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