Bonaire launches island-wide tourism awareness program

KRALENDIJK, Bonaire – The next time you visit Bonaire, you can expect to receive a generous dose of the one thing you already love about this friendly Caribbean island…a smile. That’s because on Monday, April 23, 2007, Tourism Corporation Bonaire in cooperation with the local government, officially 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.

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