In recent days an opinion has been expressed that all-inclusive resorts are not in the best interests of Curaçao as their presence creates an island without a soul, making Curaçao indistinguishable from the Dominican Republic or Turkey.
The Managing Director of CHATA, Dr. James Hepple, stated in response that this opinion was incorrect on many levels. Dr. Hepple, who not only is the interim Managing Director of CHATA but is an Assistant Professor teaching tourism management at the University of Aruba and has worked in the tourism industry of the Caribbean for some forty years, said that the formula for a successful tourism industry on an island such as Curaçao was that the destination offered a diverse range of products to meet the ever evolving needs of its visitors.
Successful destinations offer many different products.
He said destinations that succeed offer both large and small hotels, hotels which offer room only, hotels that offer meal plans in addition to the cost of the room, hotels that offer an all-inclusive experience, timeshare accommodation, condominium style accommodation, small apartment style accommodation as well as properties rented on a short term basis.
And draw visitors from many different markets.
He went on to say in addition to a diverse product offering a successful destination also attracts visitors from a number of different markets such as the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, Brazil, and other European and Latin American countries, each with their own tastes to ensure that should one market underperform other markets can pick up the slack.
Curaçao offers unique experiences.
He also pointed out that tourists do not visit a destination to stay in a hotel room and that one of Curaçao’s great advantages was that it offered very different experiences from other destinations, something which is frequently mentioned by recent guests.
70% of guests staying at all-inclusives explore the island and support the local economy.
Dr. Hepple said it was unfortunate that the all-inclusive segment had been singled out for criticism. He quoted from a report prepared by the Central Bank of Aruba in 2016 entitled The State of All Inclusive Tourism – A Research Report which reported an estimated 70 percent of all-inclusive tourists explored Aruba and had spent more than AFL 150 million on destination activities, including tours, excursions, food & beverage, shopping, and transportation.
Tourists are offered a huge variety of choices.
Dr. Hepple pointed out that tourists have an enormous variety of choices when it comes to selecting a destination and any successful destination has to focus on providing unique experiences. Dr. Hepple went on to say that the global tourism industry was continuing to evolve, and that customers’ needs were constantly changing. He said some segments of the industry did not exist 50 years ago such as the cruise industry which is now a formidable competitor to any land based tourism sector.
CHATA is very happy with the direction Curaçao’s tourism industry is taking.
Dr. Hepple concluded by saying CHATA was very happy with the direction Curaçao’s tourism industry was taking as the destination had a good blend of traditional hotels, modern all-inclusive resorts, apartment hotels and short term rental accommodation and also had a good mix of markets from which it could draw visitors.