Willemstad, 13 March 2020– CHATA has taken note of the decision made by the government of Curaçao to put a ban on all visitors on flights originating from Europe. This decision will have a significant impact on our economy seeing that the travel restriction introduced will impact our largest source market. CHATA foresees a drastic drop in tourism performance for the upcoming period. Therefore, CHATA urges the government to include the business sector in relevant future decisions to be taken.
Moreover, taking the effects that COVID-19 has and will have on the economy into account, CHATA requests the government to show leniency towards the business community in regard to e.g. exemptions from fiscal obligations, incentives from government such as, Flexible labor/employment obligations (werktijdverkorting),etc. A favorable decision from the government for the private sector to support with incentives is crucial for business continuity seeing the loss of business.
CHATA has also been in close contact with its members to both inform and gather information on what has been declared a pandemic virus by the World Health Organization. The gathered information from our members is crucial for CHATA to be able to formulate its position and prepare the industry for possible implications. In the past few weeks CHATA has provided all members with the general precautionary measures and information on the virus. Furthermore, CHATA has been updating its members on all developments regarding the virus. Additionally, all CHATA members including their guests and customers have been informed on the general precautionary measures through information sheets provided by CHATA and the Ministry of Health. All CHATA members have confirmed the introduction of precautionary measures to ensure a safe environment for staff, guests and customers. Precautionary measures include increased hygiene protocols, trainings, information sessions, etc.
Also, as of March 1, 2020, up until the late morning hours of Friday, 13 March 2020, CHATA has been monitoring the impact that COVID-19 has on the sector. So far, CHATA can confirm an increase in booking cancelations as well as rebookings to Curaçao due to COVID-19. Even though it will result into loss of business, the majority of CHATA member accommodations are considering the introduction of a flexible cancelation policy. In regard to a forecast on future impact, CHATA has also agreed to hold off on any forecasts at the moment due to the constant change in numbers. Additionally, CHATA has been closely following daily data for the Caribbean and is seeing steeper drops in demand with approximately 8 to 9%. The biggest drops registered are in ADR with approximately 15 to 20%.
CHATA finds it imperative for the government and all stakeholders involved to continue with the provision of clarity in regard to the developments, implications and measurements revolving COVID-19. Moreover, CHATA encourages all members, the media as well as the community to remain calm, levelheaded and transparent. Lastly, CHATA urges everyone to follow protocols as stated by government officials in order to prevent potential spread of the virus.