Willemstad, February 26, 2019– The year has just started, and it is already painting to become a promising year filled with development potential for the Tourism Industry. Therefore, CHATA decided to dedicate its first Membership Meeting of the year to new projects and opportunities we can develop to further grow the tourism industry.
The CHATA Member meeting was held on Tuesday February 26, 2019, at CHATA member Hilton Curaçao. 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 Curaçao Tourist Board (CTB), Corendon Beach Curaçao, Grant Thornton and Curaçao Financial Group (CFG) to provide an update on various topics.
Tourism Update by Paul Pennicook CEO, CTB
Mr. Paul Pennicook, CEO of the Curaçao Tourist Board, provided an informative overview of the industry performance of 2018 and the targets for 2019. For 2018 the industry registered a total of 431,701 stay over tourist, which is an 8% increase compared to 2017. Furthermore, he elaborated on the various marketing strategies that CTB is currently conducting for the destination. Seeing that CTB recently introduced the ‘Feel It For Yourself’ branding for the island, it is important to show the world that Curaçao is much more than just crystal blue beaches. According to Mr. Pennicook, Curaçao is not only meant for the mainstream traveler demographic. This island is destined for a higher purpose and has the full potential to attract unique markets and stand out between the other islands in the Caribbean region. However, in order to achieve this, we need to join forces, with all tourism stakeholders and the community as a whole.
Corendon Beach Curaçao: Work in Progress by Caroline Hartel (General Manager)
Ms. Caroline Hartel provided a comprehensive explanation regarding the up and coming Corendon Beach Resort. This Dutch company’s business range from airline, accommodations to tour operators. Corendon offers holiday packages in Kunuku Aqua Resort, Hilton, Curinjo Apartments & the Beach House. Currently Livingstone Jan Thiel Resort is the only Corendon accommodation on the island. The plan is to expand the current 204 rooms property to 320 rooms by 2020. Furthermore, Ms. Hartel also highlighted the fact that by the end of 2019 another Corendon property will be added to the island. What was previously known as the Holiday Beach/Veneto hotel with 220 rooms, will be refurbished into a 5-star hotel with over 800 rooms. The Corendon Beach Resort will be an all-inclusive property which provides various facilities such as international restaurants, wellness and entertainment facilities such as an aquapark and an amphitheater. Seeing that Corendon follows the European standards on sustainability and that all Corendon hotels are Green Key certified, these standards will also be implemented in the resort. Of course, a property of such magnitude requires a big staffing. Which is why Ms. Hartel also elaborated on the various job opportunities that will be opening up soon.
Harvesting Heritage by Bharat Bhojwani Managing Director Curaçao Financial Group
Curaçao has many historical and hidden secrets that have immense investment potential. Bharat Bhojwani, Managing Director of CFG, informed all attendees on the importance of investing in our heritage. Curaçao has 860 registered historical monuments. This means that our island has over 860 real estate investment opportunities. A clear example is the Pietermaai District which has been and is still being transformed into a cosmopolitan area where old buildings were transformed in eclectic boutique hotels, bars and restaurants. According to Mr. Bhojwani there are currently various potential areas in Punda & Otrobanda that can produce over 1.500 new hotel rooms.
Unlocking the Potential of our Tourism Industry, Ethics & Compliance leading the way, by Roy Jansen Advisory Director Grant Thornton
Roy Jansen, the Advisory Director at Grant Thornton, provided an inspiring and motivating presentation regarding how to develop specific type of skills that can help us unlock the potential of our Tourism Industry. One of the most important skills for the hospitality industry to continue growing is integrity. He further elaborated on the importance of incorporating ethics and compliance within our business strategy to ensure integrity of our employees.
Tourism Industry Update by CHATA
Miles Mercera (President & CEO of CHATA) and Vianny Henriquez (Marketing & Product Manager of CHATA) provided an update on the current projects that CHATA is undertaking. Mr Mercera elaborated on advocacy initiatives such as facilitating permits and immigration process for foreign workers, the introduction of a certification program where job-seekers are retrained for hospitality functions on entry-level to name a few. Furthermore, CHATA is also stressed on the importance of Safety & Security on the island.
Miles Mercera also presented the results of a survey CHATA recently conducted amongst their members. With this survey CHATA reflected back on the industry performance in 2018 and shed some light on the outlook for this year. Overall members are optimistic about 2019. They anticipate a net profit for their business which is definitely a great mindset with all the new projects coming up. 75% indicate an increase in hotel occupancy and 87.5% anticipate an increase in ADR which automatically translates in an increase in RevPAR. Vianny Henriquez elaborated on the marketing activities of the association, awareness campaigns and initiatives to promote tourism with our youth and children, upcoming CHATA events and human capital development initiatives.
As was apparent from the CHATA Membership Meeting, there are still many opportunities to further capitalize on the tourism industry and grow our local economy. CHATA will continue to provide its support to the government, its membership and other stakeholders in order to develop our industry.