Bonaire to Open First U.S. Brand Hotel, Plans Direct Flights from Miami

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – At the 2010 Caribbean Marketplace, Travel Agent sat down with Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, director of the Tourism Corporation Bonaire, and learned of the destination’s plans to open its first U.S. brand hotel by 2012 and possibly add new, direct air service from Miami by the end of this year.

The hotel will be a 120-room Hilton, which will be a part of a major, multiple-phase condominium project. 

As for the flights, Asjoe-Croes says the destination is in serious discussions with American Airlines. The flight would be huge for Bonaire since it lost three American Eagle connections from San Juan in 2008. Because of that, arrivals from two of its major markets, Florida and California, took a major hit.

“Florida and California have been in our top five markets for the last 10 years, but we didn’t see that last year,” she says.

In fact, like the majority of islands, Bonaire took a hit across the board with a 10-12 percent drop in 2009, she says.