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Bonaire Delegation Meets Colombia

BONAIRE, Kralendijk – Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB) in collaboration with special envoy for the BES-island, Edison Rijna, Special Envoy (Gezant), Holland House, Dutch Kingdom Embassy, BONHATA and Bonaire International Airport (BIA) partnered up in a two-days sales mission to Bogota Colombia (31 January and 1 of February). The goal of the sales mission is to introduce a direct airlift connection between Bogota, Colombia and the island of Bonaire.

TCB has been preparing a South American (Colombian) business case for the past two years investing in a mobility data study, room inventory study and a market study to evaluate the potential of the South American market for the island of Bonaire. The study based on historic figures and current market size indicates that Bonaire is ready for a direct air service connection with Colombia. The study presented last week to the stakeholders in Colombia is not only focused on Tourism but also includes other areas of import and export.

Recent data shows that Colombia is a significant market for Bonaire, ranking among the top ten source markets in 2023. Despite the absence of direct flights and (targeted) marketing, Bonaire received an average of +/- 100 South American visitors per week in 2023 travelling via Curacao and Aruba to Bonaire. Visitors to Bonaire from South America include Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru. South American visitors come to Bonaire for various reasons, including vacations (25%), visiting friends and family (14%), and watersport activities such as Diving (5%). Brazil is also a target market for Bonaire, especially for when it comes to Diving.

Colombia for example stems from its rapid economic growth, improving economy, and large and growing population. With a population of 52 million people (the third largest in Latin America), with a rising middle class, Colombia has a significant number of potential visitors and the BOG airport is one of the most strategic air connectivity hubs in South America. Additionally, Colombians are increasingly interested in travel, with around 40% of the population identified as active travellers.

The Bonaire Delegation consisting of Elesier Angel (TCB), Miles Mercera (TCB), Maarten van der Scheer (BIA), Veroesjka de Windt (BONHATA), Luite Berkenbosch (BONHATA), Bianca Peters (advisor – special envoy) led by Edison Rijna, Special Envoy (Gezant), met with the officials of Pro Colombia, ANATO, various airline partners, Civil Aviation Colombia and representatives of the Holland House Bogota.

TCB’s and its partners will continue to conversation with the identified partners in the next few months and actively invest its resources to connect Bonaire with the largest hubs in South America.

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