Whether further development of cruise tourism is desirable for Bonaire is constantly under discussion. It is thought that more cruise tourists will contribute to economic growth. But, at the same time, there is a fear that an increase in the number of cruise tourists and the investments in infrastructure and other facilities to facilitate this growth will put extra pressure on the island’s ecosystems. These are the very same ecosystems that are vital to attract tourism to he island.
Using an economic Input-Output model with an ecologic component, three different cruise tourism growth scenarios are analysed: a baseline scenario, a moderate growth scenario and a rapid growth scenario. This analysis resulted in the calculation of economic benefits that would result from an increase in the number of cruise tourists in each scenario. At the same time, using the ecologic module that is linked to the economic Input-Output model, the socio-environmental impact on a number of natural indicators was also assessed.
Results indicate that strong a strong growth of cruise tourism arrivals will initiate strong economic growth in the short run. However, environmental effects related tot the development have a detrimental impact on the natural capital of Bonaire. Eventually, excessive growth will lead to a decrease in tourism arrivals and a collapse of the tourism sector.