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Declining Tourism Figures call for action

As the year draws to a close, CHATA reflects back on the current state of the industry and recent developments within the sector in 2017.

Despite optimistic forecasts at the start of 2017, the year has not gone as planned. Tourist arrivals is showing a decline and hotel performance and revenue per available room did not grow according to expectations. The tourism sector still lacks leadership and stakeholders within the community fail to take responsibility and ownership of important issues which have a deep impact on tourism such as overall island cleanliness, safety & security, implementation of the Tourism Master Plan and general support of tourism development projects.

Taking into consideration that tourism is an important economic pillar of Curaçao and holds a true potential to boost the growth of our local economy this should be a big concern for our island. The sector contributes with over 1 billion NAF to the economy and is responsible for the creation of approximately +/- 11,000 jobs and impacts the entire community whether direct or indirect.

Creating growth and positive development within the industry calls for tangible efforts at various levels. Tourism is a multifaceted, complex industry that requires the cooperation of all sectors and stakeholders within our community. Tourism needs to be well embedded within our education system, in order for our schools to deliver adequate employees to the workforce. Our population needs to be aware of the importance and impact of tourism and the opportunities it provides to make a living. Business owners need to take responsibility and comply with their taxes and other responsibilities in order to create a level playing field where all parties benefit.  Our governmental institutions need to take the Tourism Master Plan into account when providing permits for development of new projects. Our agencies responsible for cleanliness have to prioritize the creation and enforcement of environmental laws. In addition to this the tourism sector also requires strong leadership in order for the sector to be able to anticipate and take immediate action to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate the effects of possible threats.

According to the President & CEO of CHATA, Mr. Miles Mercera, the association urges the community, stakeholders, partners and members to take the current situation as an opportunity to come together and commit ourselves to the development of our destination. The private sector led by CHATA is eager and willing to collaborate with different organizations on island to find sustainable solutions to the issues hampering the growth of our sector. Tangible examples of this are the creation of the Level Playing Field Committee together with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Development and CTB and the recent Tourism Lab organized by CHATA in partnership with MCB to discuss the inclusion of tourism into our school curriculum.

CHATA looks forward to increased collaboration and commitment from other stakeholders within our community to realize change and growth. Our economy needs to bounce back and we firmly believe that Tourism is the short term solution.

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