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Effective July 1, Bonaire's existing room and rental car fees will be replaced by a $75 per-visit entry tax, said Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB) officials in a statement. The Caribbean destination's entry tax will support the island's continuing public and tourism infrastructure development and ecological initiatives and education, the officials said.
Bonaire's visitor entry tax will apply to non-residents 13 and older. Non-residents age 12 and under and residents of the former Netherlands Antilles will be required to pay $10 per visit. The taxes were previously paid per-person, per-night to the traveler's accommodation and when renting cars.
"Shifting the tax responsibility from these providers to non-residents, the updated collection process has been well-received by the tourism sector and is yet another positive move towards the island's goal to improve the visitor experience for the modern traveler," said Miles Mercera, TCB's CEO.
Bonaire's government and TCB officials are seeking to streamline the existing visitor fees by aligning them with the entry processes, said a TCB representative in an email. In time, Bonaire visitors will have access to coordinated digital arrival and departure systems, according to TCB.
Mercera and TCB officials are encouraging Bonaire visitors to pay the mandatory tax digitally at the agency's website in advance of their trips. The system will accept payment beginning June 28. Bonaire travelers may alternatively pay the entry fee upon arrival at Flamingo International Airport.
Said Mercera, "We encourage all visitors to pay the visitor entry tax in advance which will allow them to swiftly start their vacation sooner upon arrival."
Boniare's government recently launched the Bonaire Bond, a "destination pledge" inviting visitors to "be a part of maintaining [Bonaire's] long-held bond to its environment, unique identity, and each other," said TCB officials.
Bonaire will adopt coral on behalf of all eco-conscious travelers that sign the pledge within its inaugural year through April 22, 2023. The coral trees will be adopted based on the number of signatures and are managed by the Reef Renewal Bonaire foundation.
The group nurtures more than 100 pieces of coral. Donations "[go] directly back into restoring Bonaire's beautiful, colorful and all-important coral reefs that make up much of the island's protected national marine park," officials said.
Brian Major is Managing Editor for Digital Publications & Guides/Caribbean.
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