Tourism Corporation Bonaire in cooperation with the local government, have launched the Tourism Awareness Program, an initiative that will be implemented throughout the next three years to enhance tourism awareness among the entire population of Bonaire.
The Tourism Awareness Program will educate the Bonairean community of the important role that it has on the tourism product and will encourage small acts of kindness such as greeting visitors with a smile. Components of the program already in place include: the official slogan “Smile, Boneiru ta Dushi,” which translates in English to “Smile, Bonaire is Sweet;” a 30 second jingle that is played on local radio stations; and a mascot named Mama Smile, who promotes the program by visiting residents around the island with her Bonairean community ambassadors.
Other goals of the Tourism Awareness Program are to inform the Bonairean community about the uniqueness of the tourism product; the dependence on tourism; how Bonaire’s eco, nature and marine preservation efforts affect tourism; that hospitality is more than a place to stay; understanding changes in tourism; and the importance of service with a smile.
“We are pleased to offer such a one-of-a-kind program to the Bonairean community,” said Ronella Croes, Director of Tourism Corporation Bonaire. “By encouraging our residents to make the extra effort in welcoming our visitors, we hope to see a continued growth of repeat visitors to the island who will surely remember our miles of smiles among all of the other natural beauty Bonaire has to offer.”
The opening ceremony took place at Fort Orange located in historic downtown Kralendijk. Bonaire’s Governor Mr. Herbert Domacasse and Deputy of Tourism Mr. Harlton “Onnie” Emerenciana were present and each gave their approval and support of the Tourism Awareness Program. The week-long launch of the campaign came to a close in Rincon on Monday, April 30, 2007 with a celebratory birthday party for Mama Smile.
The Tourism Awareness Program is being funded by USONA, the executive organization of the foundation for development of the Netherlands Antilles.
Located eighty-six miles east of Aruba, the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire offers year-round sunshine, low annual rainfall, pristine coral formations and the most thriving fish population in the Caribbean. Ideal for adventurers, explorers and sun-worshippers alike, Bonaire offers myriad eco-adventure activities including world renowned scuba diving and snorkeling, windsurfing, kiteboarding, landsailing, mountain biking, sea and mangrove kayaking, horseback riding, nature tours, hiking, bird watching, sailing and deep sea and bone fishing. And with a selection of accommodations ranging from full-service oceanfront resorts and condominiums to guesthouses and small inns, Bonaire has something for every lifestyle and budget.
The U.S. State Department and the Department Homeland Security now requires all U.S. citizens and foreign nationals to carry a passport or other accepted secure documents to enter or re-enter the U.S. from vacations or business travel (by air or sea) anywhere in the Caribbean, including Bonaire.