CHATA’s Cheers to 2016: Stay Focused…
On January 27th 2016, CHATA held its annual year opening event in which it welcomed the New Year together with its members. This event took place at CHATA member Hòfi Cas Cora. During this event CHATA took the opportunity to look back on the tourism achievements of 2015 and to present its plans for 2016. Next to this CHATA also officially launched its new website and presented its new in-room magazine titled ‘INCuracao 2016’.
Our message for 2016 is for us (Curaçao) to remain focused on what matters. We need to Focus on our priorities. Tourism is not only an industry, but it’s a business. Tourism is not only business but its economy. This year we foresee some major changes in consumer travel behavior. Last minute bookings are increasing (up to 3 days) which makes it more difficult to predict or anticipate future travel behavior. Smaller properties (with less than 30 rooms) are also on the rise not only in Curaçao but across the Caribbean. This is where the term “Shared economy” comes to play.
CHATA’s DATA driven approach also recognizes the need for the growth in our room inventory on the island, especially for the Canadian market where the interest was expressed for all inclusive properties. The US economy offers great potential for travel to the Caribbean with the positive economic outlook and Americans willingness to travel again, which is in line with our efforts for the Curaçao Tourism Master plan. The German Market offers ample room for growth and we believe that we can reach approximately 28.000 German arrivals in 2016. Our market share for the Dutch market, known as our bread and butter must be maintained. South America’s economic outlook for Brazil and Venezuela will remain a challenge with Brazil preparing for its financial recession. Colombia remains an opportunity that can be embraced if we focus and deliver.
The Retention and further development of our Airlift is one of our top priorities. A positive development forecasted for 2016 is that KLM will increase its flights in May and JetBlue later on this year. Let’s not forget that we have welcomed new airlines servicing Curaçao such as Aruba Airlines and Air Transat and additional gateways opened by American Airlines (Charlotte). Growth in seat capacity and additional service to Curacao by Air Berlin, Insel Air, TUI are part of the mix.
With changes comes resistance, with growth comes challenges and opportunities. Fact is that the term “Safety & Security” is one of the daily subjects we address as an industry. This is a major concern going forward, seeing the bad publicity and experience we get as locals and as tourists on island. We do look forward to a continued partnership with POLITUR and other stakeholders to address this challenge.
With increased airlift capacity, the introduction of the e-gates at the Airport where passengers can electronically have their passports checked is applauded which will enhance the visitors’ arrival experience.
CHATA is appreciative of the progress made in terms of collaboration on the island not only with government but also within the private sector which will be the building ground for the execution of the Tourism Master Plan. One of the newest examples of private sector partnerships is the collaboration with various restaurants for the successful culinary festival called ‘Flavors’ which will be held on 28 and 29th of October of 2016.
CHATA launched it’s new and improved website chata.org focusing on our Product. The displaying of our CHATA Hotels & Resorts on an online platform is one of the major goals of this new website. Be sure to check out our dedicated landing page focusing solely on accommodations. CHATA will continue to develop this product platform in 2016 and beyond.
Tourism in 2015
Tourism is without a doubt an important pillar of the economy and has lasting effects on the community. An economic analysis from the Central Bank revealed restaurants & hotels as one of the main drivers of economic growth in Curaçao during 2015. The Curaçao Tourist Board (CTB) reports a 3% growth in stay over arrivals in the year 2015. In total 468.442 stay over visitors were welcomed in the course of this year, nearly 14.000 additional overseas visits were registered in 2015. Last year we counted approximately 455.000 arrivals. The year 2015 started very strong in the first quarter of 2015 booking double digit growth with 13% in January and 11% for both February and March 2015. The second quarter of the year experienced a downfall in June of 9% less visitors. The second quarter is also known as Curacao’s tourism low season with May and June as the months when less visitors travel to Curaçao. As for the third quarter, positive growth is measured in September 2015 (6%). This is the effect of the Curaçao North Sea Jazz festival arrivals. The slight decrease of 2% in August 2015 is the effect of the switch in festival days from the previous year. The last quarter of the year which started with slightly decreases in October and November, closed with a spike in arrivals in December 2015. Remarkable is a difference of at least 16.000 visitors between the least and best performed months of 2015.
Hotel occupancy was 71.08% in 2015 compared to 68.91% in 2014. Hotel occupancy in the Caribbean was 69%, this means that Curaçao performed above average last year. RevPAR, or revenue per available room, was $107.28 in 2015 compared to $101.42 in 2014, which means an increase of almost $6. For more information click here.