CHATA elects new board member
Willemstad, August 20, 2019 – On Tuesday August 20, 2019, CHATA organized its 3rd membership meeting of the year. The meeting took place at CHATA member Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino. 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 Deloitte, VPCO, BPM and CTB as speakers. Furthermore, CHATA also announced its new board member.
Tax Developments in Curaçao (Deloitte)
Julian Lopez Ramirez gave an update on the Tax Changes that will be introduced in the upcoming months. Changes will be made in the Waste Disposal charges, Property Tax, Excise Duties and Sales Tax. The biggest impact for the tourism sector will be the increase in excise duties on alcohol and cigarettes which will in certain instances increase with a 100%. This is a great concern for the sector since it may negatively impact our competitive position with neighboring islands. It can encourage illegal trade of alcohol and cigarettes and lead to smuggling which may pose safety and health risks.
Curaçao’s Immigration Card goes Digital (CTB)
Christine Campagnard (CTB) elaborated on the plans of the tourism board to go completely digital with the Immigration Card. In 2015 Curaçao was one of the first islands in the Caribbean to initiate a digital immigration card. Since then 25% of all visitors coming to the destination are making use of the card with a heavy usage out of the European market. The migration to an online only immigration card eliminates the need for airlines to purchase the paper immigration cards, reduces printing and processing costs at the immigration, increases accuracy of data and contributes in making the island more sustainable. Furthermore, we will know ahead of time who is coming to the destination. This enables us to stimulate on island spending and data driven actions based on travelers needs to name a few. The new form will be available in multiple languages starting October 1, 2019. To access the card please visit: dicardcuracao.com
BPM and CHATA Partnering towards sustainability (BPM)
Sharella Riedel gave the members of CHATA an introduction on Curacao’s Business Council for Sustainable Development (BPM) and the importance of adopting sustainable practices for the further growth of the sector. CHATA has recently re-launched its sustainability task force and will work closely with the sector to promote sustainability amongst its members and facilitate the adoption of sustainable practices.
Challenges in Education (VPCO)
CHATA invited Maghalie van der Bunt (VPCO) to give a presentation about the importance of investing in and developing our education as the sector perceives a mismatch between the skill set that the sector expects, and the skill sets that the education system delivers. Failure to align the two can result in locals having to compete with imported talent, and increased investment in justice and the social system to name a few. The greatest challenges in the education system are lack of investment in education, insufficient vision and tools. Education is often seen as the responsibility of one ministry instead of an integrated approach. Mrs. Van der Bunt concluded her presentation with a request to align our efforts and work more closely together in order to develop a sustainable solution to adequality prepare our graduates for the workforce.
Miles Mercera (President & CEO of CHATA) announced the new board member of the association Mr. Ricardo Esteban from Sunscape Curaçao Resort Spa and Casino. He will serve on the board of the association until the elections of next year. Furthermore, Miles Mercera provided an update on various advocacy matters that the association is currently undertaking such as the transformation of the CTB into a Tourism Authority, Safety and Security, Tax Reform, an update of the Level Playing Field, Workforce Development and ongoing meetings with the Ministers of the current cabinet. Also, Miles provided an update on the developments of Marriott, Courtyard Marriott, Dreams, Corendon and the St. Martha project. Moreover, CHATA also provided an update on upcoming events in August and September such as the Curaçao North Sea Jazz, the Suit Curaçao Underwater Kunuku, Cinex Smart Investment Summit, the Curaçao Business and Networking Event with the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Curaçao Dive Festival, Curaçao Pride and Flavors of Curaçao.
As was apparent from the CHATA Membership Meeting, the tourism sector holds great potential but there are still many challenges that need to be addressed to grow our local economy and the tourism industry. CHATA will continue to provide its support to the government, its membership and other stakeholders in order to further address these challenges and develop our sector.