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CHATA: The position of diving operators on Curaçao needs to be strengthened

At the beginning of 2017, CHATA and CTB organized a Dive World Café. The aim was to increase the know-how about diving and to highlight the impact of this on the tourist industry and the economy of Curaçao. The Dive World Café proved to be an ideal tool to achieve this. The first action point was to prepare a study on the impact of the diving industry in Curaçao. The CHATA Dive Task Force, together with Jerry Beaty and Linda Wulf of the Dive Training Magazine, has developed a survey and approached more than 40 dive operators in Curaçao. Nineteen participated in this important study. These dive operators are all in direct contact with the tourist and have given CHATA and the team a comprehensive view of the way this industry works.

Monthly diving lessons:
Every month, more than 1,813 people in Curaçao receive diving lessons. In addition to the sessions for tourists, lessons are also given to the local visitor. More than 1,200 people follow an introductory lesson, more than 300 people take classes in open waters, 124 people receive advanced lessons and between 100 and 150 people attend specialized diving courses. The rescue lessons, which are also given at different diving locations, should not be forgotten. Snorkeling is also extremely popular within our diving industry. Recent studies have shown that more than 1,591 people go snorkeling on a monthly basis as part of their holiday in Curaçao. On average, 3,751 diving lessons are given on a monthly basis, with the tourist choosing diving as part of a tour or accommodation package. These sessions are subdivided into ‘tank boat dives’ and ‘tank shore dives’ with one or two diving tanks. Every diver always uses one and a half tank. All operators together rent approximately 4,596 tanks monthly. Each month, 3,064 dive sessions without guidance take place; the tourist dives on his own and fills the tank at the operator. In total, 6,815 diving sessions are carried out monthly, including snorkeling. Figures collected by the CHATA Dive Task Force show that about 227 diving sessions take place on Curaçao every day. This number is increased to 340 when the snorkeling sessions are added.

Roll up the sleeves! This industry provides a large number of jobs. Research among the participants shows that the diving industry in Curaçao provides about 322 jobs; the full-timers are the largest group, followed by the instructors (104), the part-time employees, captain and other employees.

Monthly income: Retail
Research carried out by the CHATA Dive Task Force also shows that the diving industry generates approximately $ 195,000 in retail every month. This amount includes the sale of diving and swimming equipment and everything a diver needs to properly exercise the sport- these can be purchased at the dive operator. They even sell souvenirs! About 45.5% of the tourists who visit Curaçao and who include diving in their ‘things to do’, want to stay in large hotels, 22% at smaller hotels, 14.8% at apartments rented to tourists, 13.8% have a private accommodation and 3.9% is unknown. The tourists vary from country of residence; 34% come from North America, 42% from the Netherlands, 12% from Germany and 12% from South America.

Annual figures:
CHATA is convinced that the diving industry has great potential. The daily investment of every diver is about $ 100. This means that the sector generates approximately $ 12,410,000 (NAFL 22,089,800) annually. The diver spends an average of $ 150 daily on accommodation, leading up to $14,499,625 yearly. Figures collected indicate that the diver spends about $ 100 on food and beverage; another $ 12,410,000 annually. When diving lessons, accommodation, food and beverage, car rental, the sale of equipment and airport tax are added together, we concluded that the diving industry contributes with approximately $ 41,319,914 annually to the local economy.

According to Miles Mercera, President and CEO of CHATA the contribution of the diving and snorkeling industry to our economy is huge. “We have to take advantage of all the opportunities that this industry has to offer. We propose to promote Curaçao as a diving destination as well. There are still many people who are not aware of the undersea splendor of our island. CHATA wants to emphasize the efforts and contribution of the dive operators to our economy. It is important to protect the dive sites and to ensure a sustainable growth of this industry. The same way the operators take part in certification programs to raise their service level, CHATA urges the government to come up with initiatives and legislation that would change and strengthen the position of the dive operators. As the recent studies have shown, their contribution to the Curaçao economy is of great value. ”

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