Published On: Mon, Dec 10th, 2018

New CTB Director: “I’m very excited about being in Curaçao”

PEP1 (1)WILLEMSTAD - Curaçao Chronicle had the honor to interview the new Director of the Curaçao Tourist Board (CTB), Mr. Paul Pennicook. This is the first of many interviews with the new Director seeing how important the tourism sector has become for the economy of the island.

Mr. Pennicook who was born in Jamaica, is an American citizen but he already feels local. To our question what was his first reaction when he was selected to take over the leadership of the CTB, Mr. Pennicook said that prior to this, he already had some association with Curaçao through Super Clubs. “What is now Sunscape was then Super Clubs Breezes and I was senior Vice President Sales & Marketing. What fascinated me back then was the mix of visitors. There were Americans, South Americans, Europeans and others, at that hotel. I always thought that the island has so much to offer. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I love challenges and this was an opportunity to promote this wonderful island. It is like a secret that needs to be told. I thought I would love to help make Curaçao become a real powerhouse in the Caribbean.”

Mr. Pennicook indicated that when he read the Master Plan that was presented a few years ago, he thought this was a good roadmap for Curaçao’s tourism development. “The Master Plan focuses on North America while maintaining the Netherlands and Venezuela. That has changed now because of Venezuela.”

“In South America, we have done really well in substituting the Venezuelan market. Two replacers are Colombia and Brazil. We are exploring other markets like Argentina and Ecuador.”

According to the new CTB Director, one of the things that is happening in tourism is the traditional advertising is taking a back seat. It doesn’t mean the CTB want to abandon this traditional form of marketing because some people still like to open a magazine. The campaigns in outdoor environment can make a difference. However, given what is happening, where influencers have become so important compared to traditional advertising, we are doing a lot more in the digital space. “For example, now instead of bringing a Television crew, we bring bloggers. With this type of promotion we are a lot more targeted.”

Talking about the new markets and the differences between them, Mr. Pennicook said that Germans like to explore. They generally spend more time on island. The average length of stay 11 nights. This is different from the American market which has a shorter length of stay.

“As far as the German market is concerned, when AirBerlin stopped its operations to and from the island, the number of visitors from that country dropped but the Germans found other ways to come, like for example with KLM and I am sure you recently saw the inaugural flight of Condor which is now flying to the island from Frankfurt in Germany.”

CTB is working on the North American market. “American Airlines will go from 2 to 3 flights a day from Miami as of mid-December. We also have JetBlue and some Americans are even finding their way here via Copa Airlines.”

“Copa Airlines is also doing well for us bringing Brazilians and other South Americans as well as Panamanian here.”

“Air Canada is adding more flights from Montreal and Toronto this winter and Avianca has just increased service by 4 additional flights from Bogota. Our biggest market is still the Netherlands and KLM is doing a great job. During the winter season they offer 11 flights a week. We also have TUI from the Netherlands.”

 

 

Mr. Pennicook says that he is really enjoying it so far living here in Curaçao. His first two months were divided between traveling to our different markets and getting to know the team here. He already visited U.S., The Netherlands, Germany and Colombia. He still needs to visit Brazil. “I’m very excited to be in Curaçao. I feel so strongly about it because being from the Caribbean I am very aware of the importance of tourism for the Island.”

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