Willemstad, February 19, 2020 – On February 18, 2020 CHATA held its quarterly Membership Meeting at the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino, with the intention to inform all members regarding the recent developments within the sector. The keynote speaker for the Membership Meeting was the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Mrs. Giselle Mc William. Furthermore, CEO and President of CHATA, Mr. Miles Mercera, Caribbean Data and Tourism Analyst, Mr. Jim Hepple and CEO and Managing Director of CTB, Mr. Paul Pennicook were present to inform members and partners on different developments within the sector.
The morning started off with Mr. Mercera welcoming everyone and announcing the importance of tourism security. The first keynote speaker, Mrs. Mc William, elaborated on the importance of our tourist’s safety, highlighting four different points one must take into consideration: the protection of the visitor, protection of the staff, protection of the property and protection of the reputation. After the presentation, Mrs. Mc William took a seat with Mr. Mercera, where he added that “It is imperative to raise awareness concerning the tourism safety in Curaçao and therefore Bandabou and Caracasbaai will be receiving more surveillance as they are the key areas the Minister wants to continue focusing on and putting more effort in.”
Aside from the tourism safety and security topic, the status of Level Playing Field came into question. The Minister informed that conclusively a fair contribution is expected from everyone to the tourism industry, and it is important for the government to have the laws in place. The preparations are in place and the documents are being processed. CHATA will continue monitoring this since time is of the essence. Other points of concern were, how can the younger generation be encouraged to work in the hospitality industry. At schools, there isn’t enough information for talented students to choose for this sector. The Minister agrees that “Curaçao has a lot of talented people and we have to invest in those who are already in the sector to continue promoting tourism to make the next generation realize what a beautiful sector it truly is”.
Mr. Mercera then started his presentation to elaborate on the recent developments within the sector, informing the members that we started out the year positively, with interesting developments taking place. CHATA will continue to inform its members regarding the developments in the areas of its Advocacy focus such as the realization of the CTA, Tax Reform changes, the status of the implementation of a Level Playing Field and many more. Additionally, an update was given on the The Taxi Meter Pilot Project being one of the advocacy focus areas, where a new, modern type of taxi meter will be tested soon. CHATA will also be presenting to the government how important public transportation and accessibility is on the island. Referring back to the 2020 slogan: Investing in our People, it was informed that the Kla Pa Turismo participants have started their internships at the different learning companies and CHATA is still receiving more registrations.
In upcoming events that CHATA is hosting, it was officially announced that Flavors of Curaçao 2020 will take place at the Renaissance on September 26, 2020. Another big announcement that was made during the Membership Meeting was that CHATA is partnering up with Tuna Creative Agency & Fresku Studios for the production of the CuraçaoNow magazine.
The morning continued with an informative session from Mr. Jim Hepple, giving a brief yet elaborate update on the tourism industry in the Caribbean in 2019 regarding the US visitors. Indicating that some islands were recovering from hurricanes while others received a negative impact due to the perception of safety or the elections that took place. Predictions for 2020 from Mr. Hepple include, continuous room expansions throughout the Caribbean and having the US market continue to be the market leader.