In February of this year the CTB and CHATA signed a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the way by which the two entities would work together. During the following weeks a lot of work went into preparing the ground for the first set of meetings, which took place during the week of May 22nd.
There are three working committees, all with the primary objective of ensuring Curaçao’s tourism stakeholders work together to the common benefit of all.
The first meeting took place on Wednesday May 24th, this being the Airlift Committee. The purpose of the airlift committee is to increase airlift to Curaçao in line with the goals established within the Marketing Committee as to desired target markets and to fill our ever increasing number of rooms. CHATA was represented by its Interim MD, Jim Hepple. The committee discussed a number of opportunities which were being pursued and was particularly happy at the announcement by Corendon that it would operate five flights a week from Amsterdam by December of this year.
On Thursday May 25th the Marketing Committee met with CHATA being represented by Robbin Vogels, the General Manager of the Avila Beach Hotel and Jim Hepple, the interim MD for CHATA. The CTB chaired the meeting with representatives from Curaçao Airport Partners and the Curaçao Port Authority also in attendance.
The main purpose of the marketing committee is to align and evaluate strategic marketing approach/promotions for the destination with a focus on optimizing demand for the destination.
In simple terms it has three objectives
- To better understand and refine marketing forecasts/target for the short term, that is the balance of 2023.
- To develop targets/forecasts and KPIS for 2024.
- To revise the targets/forecasts and KPIS for the longer term by updating the Strategic Tourism Destination Development Plan (STDDP) 2022 – 2026.
It was agreed that the core strategic objective for Curaçao’s tourism sector was to increase visitor spending and to make sure that all stakeholders are on the same page in understanding and working towards this key marketing objective.
The CTB informed the stakeholders that It planned to hold a marketing retreat in late July to discuss plans for 2024 to which CHATA’s members will be invited and that the next Marketing Committee meeting, scheduled for late July/early August, would focus on developing the marketing plan for 2024. Once the 2024 marketing plan had been finalized it would be presented to the sector hopefully early in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Finally, on Friday May 26th a meeting of the Steering Committee took place. The primary purpose of the Steering Committee is to oversee the implementation of the STDDP. The committee is chaired by the Chairman of CHATA, Hans Slier. CHATA’s interim MD Jim Hepple, also attended the meeting along with representatives from the CTB, Curaçao Airport Partners, the Curaçao Port Authority, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Unfortunately, the representative from CurOil was unable to attend. Dr. Dino Daal was also present in his capacity as project director for the implementation of the STDDP.
The stakeholders were updated on the status of the implementation of the STDDP and discussed priorities for immediate attention particularly those relating to workforce issues and to ground transportation issues.
The Committee also discussed longer term concerns especially the need for Curaçao to better embrace sustainability policies and programs as customers were increasingly expecting the destination to not only conform with but be seen to be a leader in sustainability matters.
The CTB indicated that all of the action steps regarding the implementation of the STDDP for 2024 would be incorporated in its Business Plan for 2024 which would be available for review by the Steering Committee in September 2023.
CHATA’s Chairman emphasized how happy CHATA was with the enhanced level of co-operation with the CTB and thanked all stakeholders for participating in meetings which were both open and constructive. He went on to say that CHATA was looking forward to participating in the next set of meetings which would be focused on planning for 2024.