Published On: Wed, Feb 7th, 2018

Tourism – A tale of 160.000 people

GTS-4(L)-Miles Mercera CHATAWILLEMSTAD - “When most people think of tourism, they think of people vacationing on the beach, sleeping in hotels and airlines coming to the destination. However, we would like to think of tourism as 160.000 unique opportunities embodied by the people of Curaçao”. This was the opening of the speech of Mr. Miles Mercera, President & CEO of CHATA at their annual New Year’s Event Celebration that took place on February 7th at CHATA Member, Lions Dive Beach Resort.

CHATA kicked of the new year together with industry professionals, government officials and key stakeholders, where it presented its goals for 2018. CHATA is a strong believer that Curaçao holds great potential that can only be unlocked by the coming together of its people. Curaçao has many resources that other islands can only dream off. We have a rich culture, beautiful people that speak multiple languages, breathtaking beaches and a diverse flora and fauna. In addition to this we are strategically located outside of the hurricane belt. A blessing we must embrace. In 2018, we see an increase in airlift from many of our top markets. However, the main question remains what are we going to do with what we have been given?

The tourism industry is a 900 million industry that has infinite opportunities for economic growth and creation of jobs. Every 44 tourists that visit our island leads to the creation of 1 job according to Miles Mercera, President & CEO of CHATA. Just like it takes a village to raise a child it takes our whole community of 160.000 to grow and develop our tourism industry. Our tourism industry is not developed by a few somewhere in a back office, it is developed by a community of 160.000 being intentional about the growth of its industry. Its DNA is formed by how we educate the upcoming generation, what we teach them about the value of our island and the opportunities that lie in front of them to make their livelihood.  Furthermore, it is also influenced by how we govern our island, the priorities we set as a government, how we deal with investors, what kind of investments we attract and the laws and regulations we have in place regarding security and sustainability.

Therefore, it is imperative that we come together as an island to support our tourism industry and provide it with the necessary tools to grow and further develop. For 2018 CHATA has identified the most important requirements for the further and stronger growth of our tourism industry and has placed them as its top-priorities for 2018:

  • Achieving higher ADR/REVPAR by increasing demand for the destination through marketing and improvement of our product.
  • Advocate for the restructuring of CTDF and appointment of a professional CEO.
  • Increase Arrivals with growth in Airlift primarily from North America and secondly from South America. (While maintaining our current Air Service in Europe)
  • Human Capital Development: Better alignment of Education and our Tourism Industry
  • Increased collaboration with CTB and government officials on areas affecting tourism

CHATA however cannot accomplish these objectives alone. It therefore urges the community, government officials and private sector, all 160.000 of us to align ourselves behind one common goal, implement the necessary changes and take the necessary steps in in order to grow the industry and boost our economy.

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