Tourism slowly rebounding on Saba and Statia

Tourism slowly rebounding on Saba and Statia

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - In Q3 2021, the number of visitors arriving by air in the Caribbean Netherlands almost tripled compared to the same period a year earlier. Relative to 2019, visitor arrivals by air were up by 1 percent. Over the past quarter, the number of aircraft movements rose by more than half year-on-year.

Visitor arrivals by air on Saba not yet at 2019 level
The number of visitor arrivals by air on Saba rose to 1,100 year-on-year in Q3 2021. This is over three and a half times as many as in the same period last year, but still around half the number in Q3 2019 (2,100 visitors).

In Q3 2021, Saba processed more than 900 aircraft movements, over twice as many as one year previously and the same number as two years previously.

Statia’s visitor arrivals by air at 30 percent of 2019 level

In Q3 2021, 800 visitors entered St Eustatius via F.D. Roosevelt Airport. This is 60 percent up on the same period last year but equivalent to 30 percent of all air visitor arrivals on the island in Q3 2019. A likely reason for this is that the local government kept the borders closed for a long time and a highly restrictive entry policy was in place.

The months of July, August and September saw a year-on-year increase in aircraft movements: over one and a half times more (1,100). Nevertheless, the number was still below the total of 1.6 thousand flights in the same months of 2019.

RCN SEU inbounds tourim

More visitors to Bonaire in the third quarter

Bonaire saw an increase in visitor arrivals and aircraft movements over the third quarter. This is evident from the latest figures, to be announced by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) during the launch of its publication ‘Trends in the Caribbean Netherlands, 2021’.

In Q3 2021, approximately 38 thousand visitors travelled to Bonaire by air. Bonaire attracted altogether more than two and a half times as many visitors as one year previously. Relative to the same quarter in 2019, visitor arrivals were up by 9 percent (3 thousand).

Especially in July 2021, Bonaire received many visitors by air: 14.7 thousand. During the third quarter of this year, there were 3.2 thousand aircraft movements, 41 percent more than in Q3 2020.

RCN BON inbound tourists

Share of European Dutch visitors to Bonaire increased
Due to the resumption and upscaling of air traffic from Amsterdam, the share of visitors from the European Netherlands to Bonaire rose sharply, from around 35 percent in 2019 to 55 percent in 2021. The share of visitors with US nationality declined, from 25 percent in 2019 to 14 percent in 2021. One explanation for this is that not all airlines that flew to Bonaire before the coronavirus pandemic had fully resumed their routes and schedules in the third quarter.

RCN BON inbound graph2

(RCN Caribbean Netherlands) 

Trends in the Caribbean Netherlands 2021

In conjunction with this news release, the 2021 edition of Trends in the Caribbean Netherlands is being launched. Trends in the Caribbean Netherlands 2021 contains the most important economic and social figures with respect to the Caribbean Dutch society.

This is a special edition because it focuses on the coronavirus pandemic in the Caribbean Netherlands, its course from March 2020 to September 2021 and how it may have affected the collected data. In addition, it provides a compilation of figures between 2018 and 2020. The publication can be found online as a longread and can be downloaded in PDF format. 


Persons who visit the Caribbean Netherlands for tourism purposes are called visitors, if they are not included in the population register of the Caribbean Netherlands. Visitor arrivals can be classified as either day-trippers (not staying overnight on the island) or tourists (with at least one overnight stay on the island). Visitors from the islands of Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius are considered domestic and are not counted towards inbound tourism.

Share of visitors

Percentage of visitors by nationality (country of origin) who arrive on Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba by air (inbound tourism). These shares are calculated on the basis of quarterly figures.


StatLine - Caribbean Netherlands: inbound tourism by air

StatLine - Caribbean Netherlands: inbound tourism by air; nationality

StatLine - Caribbean Netherlands; aviation, monthly airport data

Relevant links

Publication - Trends in the Caribbean Netherlands 2021

News release - Tourism on Bonaire seems to be picking up; 9 thousand visitors in June

News release - Tourism in the Caribbean Netherlands hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic


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