In 2016, Bonaire received around 136 thousand tourists arriving by air. This number is more or less the same as in 2015. A total of 217 thousand cruise ship passengers visited Bonaire, down 6 percent on the previous year. Saba and St Eustatius saw little year-on-year change in tourist arrivals as well. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures about the Caribbean Netherlands.
The drop in cruise ship arrivals was partly related to the fact that several previously announced cruises to Bonaire were cancelled and to Hurricane Matthew, which swept through the Caribbean between late September and early October.
On Saba, the number of tourist arrivals by air was down 4 percent in 2016 to 9.2 thousand. The island saw another 7.7 thousand arrivals by ferry, representing a 10 percent rise year-on-year. Not all ferry passengers were tourists. Around 4 thousand tourists arrived by pleasure craft.
Around 11 thousand tourists arrived on St Eustatius by air in 2016: 2 percent more than in 2015. Another 3.3 thousand tourists visited the island using small pleasure boats.
1.1 million overnight stays
In 2016, one in ten air tourist arrivals on Bonaire only stayed on the island for one day, not spending the night. The majority of those who did stay overnight did so for one to seven days, with a peak at seven days. Altogether tourists spent around 1.1 million nights on Bonaire last year.
On Saba, one-quarter of all air arrivals were same-day visitors. Of the tourists staying overnight on the island, slightly under 60 percent stayed for one up to four nights. The total number of tourist overnight stays on Saba reached 48 thousand.
The 11 thousand tourists who flew into St Eustatius included 2 thousand day trippers and 9 thousand with overnight stays, amounting to a total of 85 thousand nights spent on the island of St Eustatius.
Origin of inbound tourists
The islands of Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius mainly attract tourists from the European Netherlands, the Caribbean Netherlands and the United States. Most visitors on the three islands are between 30 and 60 years old.