April 26, 2019
Times are A-Changing
November 2020.Bonaire declared a safe destination to travel to.
The covid-19 pandemic has touched everyone's life on the island. For some it has been more of an impact than for others. If you are a worker in the hospitality industry, you would have seen drastic changes permeating every aspect of your life. Not many could have imagined not working and staying at home mostly. It was a matter of adjusting and reorienting one's priorities. For those that suffered loss of income or employment, it would have been devastating.
Then again, for others it was a whole lot of fun. One client stating: "I hated it when I had to go back to the office. I had so much fun with my kids at home". If you were covered under the emergency measures provided to employers to alleviate the financial burden you should consider yourself lucky. We know that in this region not all island (-states) were in the same position to do so. The world-wide standstill of tourism had hit very hard indeed. But, with the economical assistance provided by the Kingdom, not all was lost. Most people were able to maintain their way of life.
As part of the lodging industry on the island, we have seen in the very short period of mere six months the character of Bonaire change. Bonaire is facing a new reality as we are nearing the end of a long and troubled year. The world has seen unprecedented reduction in travel and that has left Bonaire in a limbo. Is it perhaps time that we look at ways to diversify our economy? How strong a role will tourism play in the coming years? And many other questions to which most of us will have no clear answers to.
So while we reflect on the year 2020 and the challenges it has brought the island, we are also looking ahead! If anything, Bonaireians are grateful. Grateful for new chances and possibilities that lay ahead. So, with the conditions to travel slowly being eased, we are gearing up to start welcoming back our guests.
And that brings us to the new situation: travelers are now, rightfully so, expecting from the service providers the utmost caution when it comes to their safety and wellbeing. Together with the 3-rd party providers, such as Airbnb, Booking.com or HomeAway.com, for instance, we are implementing strict protocols for the cleaning and interactions with guests.
Needless to say that everyone on the island is really happy that guests will start arriving again. Whether people will come for a well-deserved vacation or to look for a more permanent way to stay, they can all be certain they would be most welcome!
This op-ed is written by Ricardo Emerencia