Published On: Tue, Aug 26th, 2014

Clarinda: “The future of our tourism industry looks promising”

ClarindaWILLEMSTAD – After reviewing the numbers published by the Curaçao Tourism Bureau (CTB), Hugo Clarinda, interim Director of the Tourism Bureau, concludes that Curaçao is heading the right way with its tourism industry.

During a recent interview with Clarinda he told the Curaçao Chronicle that finally, after 7 months of negative numbers, there is a plus. “We lost airlift. Up until May of this year you can see the negative numbers from the quantity of passengers from the South American country of Venezuela. Now it’s on the rise again,” Clarinda said.

Venezuela is Curaçao’s number one market, followed by the Netherlands. The U.S.A which until August is still negative will also see an increase, but more by the end of this year. Reason for this is the new route New York - Curaçao operated by the popular airline JetBlue. “I think our breakthrough with the American market will come with JetBlue. I’m very excited about what we have accomplished.”

“We will also see an increase in European visitors. This is because of the two extra flights from KLM. Passengers from other European countries, like Belgium, the Scandinavian countries and Germany will be able to connect much better with these two flights,” Clarinda explained. Air Berlin is doing very well now. The flights are always full. “Hopefully in the future we will get more flights from Air Berlin.”

The Canadian market is also performing very well. All three weekly flights from Canada are about 90% full. This market will also grow more after we start with the flights from Montreal. The change from only summer flights to all year round will help this country become one of Curaçao’s best market.

Clarinda also spoke of two South American countries that can become very important for Curaçao. These two countries are Brazil and Colombia. “Colombia is a great potential, but we have a problem there. The visa requirement,” Clarinda said. “Once we get rid of that, we can work with this market. The country’s economy is growing and the people of Colombia are not only looking for places to go on vacation, but also to do business. The government knows about it, the Netherlands also knows about it, but the process is going very slow right now. They promised us that by the end of this year we can see a change.”

Brazil is another potential market. We’ve seen a growth of 14% in these past 7 months. “The good thing about Brazilians is that they like to spend money. This is good for our economy. Tour operators are telling us that there is a lot of interest in our island, especially after the campaign we had in Brazil,” Clarinda stated. Curaçao was the scene of a Brazilian soap opera. Together with Copa Airlines and Avianca, the CTB has held various campaigns to promote Curaçao as a tourism destination.

When asked about the services and especially the quality of the services offered to the tourist, Clarinda explained that the CTB is doing an assessment of dive shops so they can be certified. “We are also busy with a project to certify the restaurants and setting up quality standards. This is to offer better quality to the tourists,” Clarinda said.

“In 2015 we will invest in the markets I’ve mentioned. We will focus on Canada, United States and also Brazil and Colombia. But Colombia only if the visa requirement is eliminated. These markets are important for us and they are growing. The future of our tourism industry looks promising,” Clarinda said.

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