Photo description: Tourists walking off a cruise ship in Kralendijk Bonaire

How many people visit Bonaire by cruise ship?

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, in 2021 significantly fewer people visited the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands. For instance, cruise tourism to Bonaire only restarted in earnest towards the end of 2021. In total, 56.6 thousand people arrived on the island by cruise ship that year. Most visitors (111.3 thousand) arrived by air. The number of cruise ship and air passenger arrivals was still considerably lower in 2021 than in the pre-pandemic year 2019.

Number of cruise ship passenger arrivals, Bonaire (x 1,000)
Month 2021* 2020 2019
Jan 0.0 78.0 73.9
Feb 0.0 61.2 39.9
Mar 0.0 36.9 48.3
Apr 0.0 0.0 41.1
May 0.0 0.0 21.7
Jun 0.0 0.0 19.1
Jul 0.0 0.0 19.9
Aug 0.0 0.0 23.8
Sep 2.1 0.0 21.5
Oct 2.4 0.0 29.1
Nov 17.5 0.0 51.6
Dec 34.6 0.0 67.8
* Provisional figures

Return of cruise ships as of September 2021

The number of cruise ship arrivals on Bonaire started increasing gradually as of September 2021. In the last few months of the year, Bonaire received 56.6 thousand cruise ship passengers. Cruise traffic came to a complete standstill when the COVID-19 restrictions for Bonaire came into effect in mid-March 2020.

In November and December 2019, the number of cruise ship passenger arrivals on Bonaire stood at around 52 thousand and 68 thousand respectively; this was only 18 thousand and 35 thousand during the same months in 2021. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most cruise ship passengers visited Bonaire during the months of November, December, January and February.

Bonaire flight tourism partially recovered

In 2021, 111 thousand people visited Bonaire by airplane. This was 30 percent less than in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 crisis. During the second half of 2021, airline traffic recovered so quickly that more people visited Bonaire in Q4 2021 than in Q4 2019 (40 thousand).

Visitor arrivals by air, Bonaire (x 1,000)
Jaartal Kwartaal Visitors
2019 Q1, 2019 44.3
2019 Q2, 2019 38.8
2019 Q3, 2019 35.1
2019 Q4, 2019 40.0
2020 Q1, 2020 38.9
2020 Q2, 2020 1.3
2020 Q3, 2020 13.9
2020 Q4, 2020 12.5
2021 Q1, 2021 11.7
2021 Q2, 2021 17.6
2021 Q3, 2021 38.1
2021 Q4, 2021 43.9

Recovery of inbound tourism by air continues on Saba

4.1 thousand people visited Saba by air in 2021. This was more than in the previous year, when only 2.7 thousand people visited. However, it was still 56 percent less than in 2019, the pre-pandemic year.

3.6 thousand visitors flew to St Eustatius in 2021, while this was almost 11 thousand two years earlier. It was somewhat higher in 2021 than in 2020, when there were 3.2 thousand visitors.

Just as Saba, St Eustatius saw an upturn in incoming visitors by air in 2021, but the total was still below the pre-pandemic level.

56,600  cruise ship passenger arrivals on Bonaire in 2021 and 111.3 thousand visitors arriving by air Buitenvorm Binnenvorm

More data on inbound tourism by air


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More information (in Dutch only):

Explanation of symbols

Empty cell figure not applicable
. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

About CBS

Statistics Netherlands (CBS)

In a society where the amount of information is growing explosively, free access to reliable and integral data is crucial. As the national statistical office, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) provides reliable statistical information and data to produce insight into social issues, thus supporting the public debate, policy development and decision-making while contributing to prosperity, well-being and democracy.

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CBS in the Caribbean Netherlands

Statistics Netherlands opened an office on Bonaire in 2010. The Bonaire office is responsible for all statistics referring to the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands: Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, compiling statistics about prices, population, labour, income, the economy, tourism and trade.

Publications can be found in the dossier Caribbean Netherlands.


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