Tourism Corporation Bonaire has officially released results of the first five months of 2008.

A total of 33.993 tourists visited Bonaire during the first five months of 2008; this represents an increase of 8.81% as compared to the first five months of 2007. The results are inline with forecasts made for this yearâ??s tourism development. After a strong growth of 17% in 2007, in 2008 it is expected that tourism will continue to grow, however at a more moderate pace. 

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Following on the strongest year-over-year growth of ever recorded in the NA Market, which is one of 19.7% in 2007 results show that the market continued to expand at a very healthy rate of 11.75 % in the first five months of 2008. US tourism arrivals grew at a rate of 10.43 %, while the Canadian numbers soared at a rate of 29.76 %. During the historically strong first quarter the growth rate was at 10.56% and 23.16% respectively. We can see that this growth continued in April and May of 2008, which are softer travel months. The latter results are indicative of the resilience of the market in light of the softening US economy. These numbers are attributable to the strength of the international dive travel market, Bonaireâ??s ability to efficiently tap into that market strength and the availability of additional lift to the island.

The European market has shown a strong growth in 2007. In 2008, this is being maintained so far, while ticket prices have increased significantly. Thus one can conclude that the market is showing a good performance. The European market shows an increase of 3.9% in the first 5 months of 2008, when comparing the results to the same period in 2007. As anticipated Holland and Belgium are showing positive results, growth of 7.54% and 20.12% respectively. This is in accordance with the marketing tactics and efforts being displayed in this market. As long as the airlift is composed of a weekly Arkefly next to the KLM flights, the Netherlands will be the most important market out of this continent. In 2007 almost 75% of the European visitors were from the Netherlands. With the addition of a second Arkefly in October 2008, it is expected that the focus will remain on this primary market, but also on the Belgium market. The secondary and tertiary markets will therefore not show strong growth as the island has tactically shifted attention to the above-mentioned markets, in line with the airlift offering in the market currently. Noteworthy is that Great Britian is showing an increase of 7.99% in the first 5 months of 2008, making GB the second top performing market so far out of this continent (next to the Netherlands).

South America shows a growth of 7. 13% in the first five months of 2008 compared to 2007. Brazil being a primary market shows a growth of 61, 35%. Venezuela, the other primary market out of this region, shows a decrease of 5,83%.

The Caribbean shows a growth of 39.72%. Aruba, which still remains the most important market in the Caribbean, shows a growth of 55.56% in the first 5 months of 2008. Efforts, albeit limited, in this market have proven to be successful and continue to be so.


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