CHATA’s Cheers to 2016: “Stay Focused…”
WILLEMSTAD - On January 27th 2016, CHATA held its annual year opening event in which it welcomed the New Year together with its members. This event took place at CHATA member Hòfi Cas Cora. During this event CHATA took the opportunity to look back on the tourism achievements of 2015 and to present its plans for 2016. Next to this CHATA also officially launched its new website and presented its new in-room magazine titled ‘INCuracao 2016’.
Our message for 2016 is for us (Curaçao) to remain focused on what matters. We need to Focus on our priorities. Tourism is not only an industry, but it’s a business. Tourism is not only business but its economy. This year we foresee some major changes in consumer travel behavior. Last minute bookings are increasing (up to 3 days) which makes it more difficult to predict or anticipate future travel behavior. Smaller properties (with less than 30 rooms) are also on the rise not only in Curaçao but across the Caribbean. This is where the term “Shared economy” comes to play.
CHATA’s DATA driven approach also recognizes the need for the growth in our Room inventory on the island, especially for the Canadian market where the interest was expressed for all inclusive properties. The US economy offers great potential for travel to the Caribbean with the positive economic outlook and Americans willingness to travel again, which is in line with our efforts for the Curaçao Tourism Master plan. The German Market has offers ample room for growth and we believe that we can reach +/- 28.000 German arrivals in 2016. Our market share for the Dutch market, known as our bread and butter must be maintained. South America’s economic outlook for Brazil and Venezuela will remain a challenge with Brazil preparing for its financial recession. Colombia remains an opportunity that can be embraced if we focus and deliver.
The Retention and further development of our Airlift is one of our top priorities. A positive development forecasted for 2016 is that KLM will increase its flights in May and JetBlue later on this year. Let’s not forget that we have welcomed new airlines servicing Curaçao such as Aruba Airlines and Air Transat and additional gateways opened by American Airlines (Charlotte). Growth in seat capacity and additional service to Curacao by Air Berlin, Insel Air, TUI are part of the mix.
With changes comes resistance, with growth comes challenges and opportunities. Fact is that the term “Safety & Security” is one of the daily subjects we address as an industry. This is a major concern going forward, seeing the bad publicity and experience we get as locals and as tourists on island. We do look forward to a continued partnership with POLITUR and other stakeholders to address this challenge.
With increased airlift capacity, the introduction of the e-gates at the Airport where passengers can electronically have their passports checked is applauded which will enhance the visitors’ arrival experience.
CHATA is appreciative of the progress made in terms of collaboration on the island not only with government but also within the private sector which will be the building ground for the execution of the Tourism Master Plan. One of the newest examples of private sector partnerships is the collaboration with various restaurants for the successful culinary festival called ‘Flavors’ which will be held on 28 and 29th of October of 2016.