During the third conference of the tourism sector, the Minister of Economic Development Mrs. Giselle McWilliams, unveiled that tourism sector has been showcasing a stellar growth in the first 9 months of 2019. Also present at this conference were: The Curaçao Tourist Board (CTB), Curaçao Hospitality & Tourism Association (CHATA) and Curaçao Ports Authority (CPA).
The sector remains one of the main sectors that has been able to attract valuable investments to Curaçao, generate employment and simultaneously create an indispensable connection to other sectors on island that provide service to our tourists. With satisfaction we have been able to look back on how this sector has flourished and grown in the past months.
Periodically, partners within the tourism sector come together to give an overview of the tourism figures of our island and its impact on our economy. This time the partners reflected on the performance of the first 3 quarters of the year (January – September 2019).
During the press conference, CTB reported that a total of 346,440 stay over tourists were welcomed on our island during the first 9 months of the year. In 2018 during the same period Curaçao welcomed, 311,384 stay over tourist which means an increase of 11%. Our 6 main markets namely, the Netherlands, United States, Colombia, Canada, Germany and Brazil were responsible for 77% of all stay over tourists in the first 9 months of the year. All 4 regions registered an increase in the first 9 months of the year. North America increased with 7%, South America with 14%, Caribbean with 20% and Europe with 11%. In total, tourists stayed a total of 3 million nights on our island resulting in an increase compared to the same period in 2018. The increase in visitor nights is as follows; 9% in the first quarter, 13% in the second quarter and 1% in the third quarter.
With regards to the figures of the hotel industry, CHATA reports the following. The average occupancy for the first 9 months of the year is 67.9%. This is a decrease of 2.5 percentage points compared to 2018, where an occupancy of 70.4% was registered. The average daily rate (ADR) increased with 0.5%, from $143.56 in 2018 to $144.32 in 2019. RevPAR on the other hand decreased with 2.5% from $101.16 in 2018 to $98.57 in 2019.
CPA also gave a presentation on the figures of Cruise Tourism. CPA informed that in the first three quarters of the year Curaçao welcomed a total of 203 cruise ships. This is an increase of 2% compared to the same period in 2018. With regards to the amount of cruise tourists, a total of 541,621 cruise tourists visited our island in the first 9 months of the year, resulting in a 3.1% increase compared to the first three quarters of 2018.
MEO indicates that the developments of the tourism sector in the first three quarters of the year had a positive impact on the economy of Curaçao. This due to both an increase in stay over tourist and cruise tourist in the last 9 months. According to MEO, the tourism sector generated approximately 1.6 billion guilders for our economy. Compared to the same period last year this is an increase of 7.8%. If tourism continues to grow as projected, MEO expects that the sector will have a positive effect on our Gross Domestic Product.