Published On: Wed, Oct 21st, 2015

Curacao is expanding as visitor arrivals soar

WillemstadCuracao has launched numerous tourism infrastructure upgrades, expansions and improvements as the southern Caribbean nation welcomes growing visitor arrivals on land and sea. The upgrades include a new cruise ship pier and an expansion of Curacao International Airport among several measures outlined in the country’s tourism master plan for 2016.

Curacao’s new government-funded projects include a $40 million cruise ship pier, the Tula Pier, to be built in the Otrabanda area of Curacao’s historic capital city of Willlemstad. Construction on the new pier, to be located west of St. Anna Bay, is slated to begin on Nov. 1.

In another project, Curacao International Airport operator Curacao Airport Partners is spending nearly $10 million to renovate facilities at the Curacao International Airport. The improvements include the addition of air conditioning to the airport’s check-in hall and screening area, upgrades to the airport’s runway, the introduction of a new Curacao Airport app, and the development of a “Jet Centre Curacao” designed to enhance passengers' experience upon arrival and departure.

The expansion will increase the airport’s capacity to at least 2.5 million passengers, said Curacao officials, accommodating “anticipated demand by the airlines for new air service capacity.”

The expansion will double the airport terminal’s passenger capacity, add a new jet bridge capable of accommodating the largest commercial aircraft and provide a new arrivals corridor to improve passenger flow and reduce aircraft turn-around time, improving connectivity. The project will also increase the airport’s commercial space to accommodate a series of expanded amenities, including new retail and food and beverage options.

The Curacao Tourist Board (CTB) reported a 14 percent increase in year-over-year visitor arrivals from the United States and a 50 percent increase from Canada. Combined, North American arrivals have increased 21 percent in 2015 compared with last year.

“This is a big, big achievement for the island,” said Andre Rojer, CTB’s marketing manager-North America. “We are very proud of it and will keep working hard to keep those figures up.”

Rojer attributed the growth to new airlift, including new JetBlue flights from New York and Air Canada flights from Toronto. The twice-weekly JetBlue flights operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays, between New York’s JFK International Airport and Curacao International Airport.

Curacao will receive additional airlift beginning Dec. 19, when American Airlines launches weekly service from Charlotte to Curacao International.

Curacao will also welcome new hotels in November and in 2017. The City Suites Curaçao, a 43-room boutique hotel located in Willemstad’s Pietermaai district, will open next month with rates starting at $85 per night based, double occupancy.

Marriott International will open a 177-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Willemstad in 2017. The new hotel will be located a few blocks from the city’s cruise ship terminal and will be part of a multi-purpose development including retail space, an entertainment area, three restaurants and a casino.

Source: Travel Pulse

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