Published On: Wed, Feb 28th, 2018

Opportunity is knocking

CHATA showcases developments with great potential for Economic Growth ...

CHATA4WILLEMSTAD - Curaçao is on the verge of many interesting opportunities. This was the main message during the latest CHATA Member Meeting held today at CHATA Member Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino. During this meeting various keynote speakers were invited to provide the membership with an update on interesting developments impacting the tourism sector such as Tax & Duty Free, Tourism & Wellness and noteworthy tourism development opportunities to boost our economy.

Every quarter CHATA organizes a member meeting where members get the opportunity to educate themselves on various topics, connect with other members and share their knowledge and experiences. This quarter CHATA invited Ernst and Young, APC, Oasean Group and CTB to provide an update on various topics.

Curaçao, A Tax & Duty Free destination (Ernst & Young)

One of the topics that was of interest this quarter was the current development of a Tax and Duty-Free destination.  At the moment several stakeholders on the island are working on the concept of developing Curaçao as a tax and duty-free destination. This means that visitors will be able to buy tax & duty-free goods by licensed stores.  Ernst & Young elaborated on the benefits of introducing tax and duty-free shopping on Curacao its fiscal implications as well as the various options for implementation. CHATA looks forward to the actual implementation of the recommendations received and supports the initiative by being part of the Task Force.

Tourism Opportunities to boost local Economic Development (APC)

Next APC provided an overview of virgin land ready for development which can be of great interest for the tourism sector such as Cas Abou, Boca Patrick, Coral Estate and Brakkeput Noord to name a few. According to the CEO of APC, Mrs. Evelyn Kruithof-Bor "We have to capitalize on every opportunity to strengthen our economy and build new economic pillars". In the past APC has financed various tourism projects who have ultimately led to the creation of jobs and opportunities for Small and Medium Sized Business.  APC recognizes the need for the development of additional quality hotel rooms and is excited to be able to contribute to this growing need together with the sector.

Curaçao a Wellness Destination (Oasean Group)

Mrs. Korra Pietersz from the Oasean Group elaborated on the potential of Curaçao as a wellness destination. The topic of wellness is becoming more and more popular worldwide. Due to its history Curaçao has a unique positon to capitalize on this opportunity. Few know that Curaçao was once named "the island of the healing". Back when Curaçao was first discovered, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese sailors left their ill sailors, likely suffering from scurvy to die on the island while departing to South and Central America, where the sailors could die in a “dignified” manner. Much to their surprise the sailors made a remarkable recovery after eating island fruit and living on the island’s powerful energy. This is when the island was then renamed to 'the island of healing'. The true nature of Curaçao has all along been hidden in its name:  Curaçao the island for 'healing of heart and soul'.  CHATA recently launched a Wellness Taskforce in which interesting parties can come together to discuss opportunities for the increased development of wellness activities and promotion of the island as a wellness destination.

Destination Marketing Update (CTB)

CTB provided a quick recap of the performance of the tourism sector in 2017. As previously indicated the overall arrivals to Curaçao declined due to several external factors such as the current turmoil in Venezuela and loss of air service from various destinations. However, CTB indicates that according to forecasts and recent developments 2018 looks much more promising. In 2018 Curaçao will get an increase in air service from different markets. Curaçao will also launch its new branding in the 2nd quarter of the year. Through this and continued marketing efforts in cooperation with the private sector CTB looks forward to a fruitful year.

CHATA

Finally, CHATA provided its members with an overview of its priorities for 2018 as well several projects which the association is currently undertaking. Priorities include the increase of ADR and REVPAR, the alignment of education and the tourism sector and the appointment of a CEO for CTB and restructuring of CTDF to name a few. President & CEO Miles Mercera also stressed the importance of developing additional quality rooms for the destination. "Curaçao has been given a great opportunity with the increase of air service. However, an increase in air service will increase the pressure on the current supply of quality hotel rooms Curaçao has to offer. In order to grow the sector, it is of great importance that we provide sufficient quality accommodations to our visitors". Mercera continued by providing examples of quick wins that if pursued can create approximately 1.000 new quality rooms. One example is the Plaza Hotel which is currently vacant. CHATA also took this opportunity to launch its new experiential video showcasing Curaçao through the eyes of a cultural explorer. This is one of several videos in which the InCuraçao Magazine (in room magazine of CHATA) will be brought to life.  These videos will be used by CHATA and CTB to promote the island internationally.

As was apparent from the CHATA Membership Meeting Curaçao holds great potential waiting to be unlocked. CHATA will continue to provide its support to the government and other stakeholders in order to further capitalize on the many opportunities presented today during the Membership Meeting in order to further grow and develop our local economy.

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