Published On: Mon, Jan 14th, 2013

Difficult year due to less Dutch tourists

WILLEMSTAD – “2012 was a difficult year for Casha (association of apartments and small hotels) considering our members had considerably fewer reservations from Dutch tourists. I estimate there were 20 to 25 percent less Dutch tourists”, said Haitham Metry, chairman of the ‘Curaçao Apartments & Small Hotels Association’. Metry himself owns Amalia Vacation Apartments and stated to have received this feedback from many members. Casha has 37 members in total and is good for approx. 1150 beds. `The apartment owners are mainly dependent on the Dutch tourist. The business was so slow in certain months last year that there were days when many Casha/members hadn’t accommodated a single guest in the entire complex. They had never experienced this before. It had started somewhere in May and continued in the months June and November. Although December had been a good month it had still been different. Usually everything is fully booked three months before the high season but this time all reservations were made approx. one month before`, said Metry.

He thinks nowadays tourists do not plan far in advance. `We see that an increase in reservations is clearly linked to for example a special offer from KLM. I often then hear the argument ´yes, but the hotels and apartments are fully booked´. However, one must not forget that due to the economic recession we have to advertise record low prices to attract tourists from Europe.” As a result the revenues dropped with 50 percent causing the owners to economize as well, according to Metry. This had a negative effect on the number of employees because that’s where the first expenditure cut is made. “Unfortunately, some member-organizations had to close their business (Casha still had 42 members early 2011) or rented to local people”, said Metry.

He thinks Dutch tourists also stay away because of ‘anti-Dutch sentiments’. “In the past year we received many e-mails from Dutch vacationers asking if it was safe to visit the island. The fierce political remarks and negative news coverage on Curaçao certainly contributed toward this. The apartment owners are mainly dependent on this market because an average Dutch vacationer spends approx. two weeks on the island, but we also focus on tourists from Belgium and Germany.

Click Tag(s) for Related Articles: