The Bonaire Hotel and Tourism Association (BONHATA) started the New Year with a tourism industry party, the BONHATA BASH 2015 which took place at the Flamingo’s Nest at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort, where they invited their members, strategic partners and the entire tourism industry of Bonaire. The president of BONHATA, Eric Gietman looked back at the year 2014 and shared some of planned marketing activities for 2015 with the audience. Being in its 35th year of existence BONHATA has always had a leading role in the development of tourism on Bonaire and will continue to do so using and expanding the e-marketing initiatives, further developing the brand I love Bonaire which was given a successful boost in 2014 and by being an active partner in the development of a strategic tourism plan for the island.
Irene Dingjan, CEO of BONHATA explained that the organization feels strongly about her commitment to support the community and that for this year FORMA was chosen to be the recipient of funds raised during this party, these funds are specifically meant for the illiteracy program. Marie Craane, coordinator for this program at FORMA gave a clear presentation on the necessity of this program by sharing the successes of the program where people are more involved in the community and have more chances of pursuing a job. The success also has a positive effect on their partner and children. Raffle prizes for this fundraiser were kindly donated by KLM, Littman’s Jewelers, Budget Rent a Car, FLOW, TELBO, Divi Resorts, InselAir and Harbour Village Beach Club.
The evening continued with the presentation of the “BONHATA Excellence Award 2014” and this year these awards have everything to do with talent. “Bonaire is blessed with many talented people, youngsters, established and beginning entrepreneurs, all people who use their talent, who dare to take risks in developing something new despite possible challenges because they strongly believe in their cause, their goal and success” says Irene Dingjan.
The first award went to the five professional freestyle windsurfers Taty Frans, Kiri Thode, Bjorn Saragoza, Amado Vrieswijk and Tonky Frans who individually booked fantastic results but also showed team effort and perseverance. Gezaghebber Edison Rijna proudly presented the awards that read: “For you constant dedication and remarkable achievement in freestyle windsurfing. You are an ambassador for the sport and for Bonaire.” During the PWA freestyle championship competition in Sylt, Germany these five professional windsurfers claimed five spots in the overall top ten ranking, an impressive result and as Gezaghebber Rijna stated, “You are an example for all of us, pabien”.
An Award of Excellence was also presented to Floris van Loo from Rum Runners Restaurant for his work with the Bonaire Culinary Team 2014 which led to fantastic results during the Taste of the Caribbean Culinary Competition last June.
As team manager Floris van Loo is involved with every little detail, from motivating professional chefs to join the team and persuade restaurant owners to give their staff time of to participate in the team to organizing training sessions and fundraising dinners.
Ingrid Fenies from Maduro & Curiels Bank Bonaire had the honor to present Floris van Loo his award which reads “In grateful appreciation for your superior leadership qualities and dedication that led to the success of the Bonaire Culinary Team 2014”
The team returned home last June with bronze, silver and gold medals and Rashindra Donge won Chef of the Caribbean 2014, the first female chef to win this prestigious award. The Bonaire team was also awarded the Tony Mack Award because of the camaraderie shown by the team. Congratulations to Floris van Loo.
The recipients of these awards are truly Bonaire Ambassadors and role models for future generations by showing that with a lot of practice and dedication you will surely succeed.
The BONHATA Bash 2015 was a celebration to bring the whole tourism industry together to meet, deliberate and create synergy with each other while DJ Shrek delighted everyone with music throughout the evening at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort. BONHATA has been on the forefront of the tourism industry for almost 35 years and has been recognized by the National & Island Government and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) as the Official Hotel & Tourism Association of Bonaire with more than 90 local and international companies in
its membership, comprising of resorts, hotels, apartments, diving and water sports businesses, car rentals, restaurants/dining and other tourism-related companies on- and off-island.
For more information on the Bonaire Hotel and Tourism Association please feel free to contact them via phone: (+599) 717 -5134 or mail at email@example.com