WILLEMSTAD, Curacao — Temperatures in the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao are heating up this summer, as are the destination’s total stayover arrivals. The Curaçao Tourist Board reported a 17 percent increase in 2019 to date with all markets showing positive growth.
While Europe continues to serve as Curaçao’s primary feeder market, the South American region is making waves with a reported 31 percent increase for winter 2019.
Additional airlift has played an integral role. On April 11, Wingo launched twice-weekly service from Bogota to Curaçao, while in the last year, Avianca added four additional flights from Bogota. Together these moves boosted stayover arrivals from Colombia by 52 percent. COPA Airlines is also operating seven weekly flights to Curaçao from Panama, compared to four flights per week in 2018.
The North American market continues to flourish with a 19 percent increase for winter 2019. The double-digit growth is attributed to a 21 percent jump in US arrivals, proving that the tourist board’s aggressive strategy to target both emerging and established markets is effective in driving new business. Demand from Florida, for example, is up 54 percent, while demand from Texas and Virginia, two newer markets, is up 33 percent and 54 percent respectively.
Looking to shift the demand to emphasize the American market, the tourist board rolled out a new global branding campaign with the help of its New York-based advertising agency. Most recently, they re-designed the destination’s website, Curacao.com, to appeal to a modern, adventure-seeking traveller. The streamlined, highly visual aesthetic comes to life with vibrant video in the header, paired with easy-to-navigate menus that provide today’s travellers with useful information in just one click.
Now visitors can select from curated, one, three, five and 10-day itineraries that tap into the destination’s rich culture, bustling cityscape, exotic underworld and emerging culinary scene. The new website also makes it easier for potential visitors to search hotels and resorts, as well as vacation rentals, attractions and events, such as the upcoming North Sea Jazz Festival (NSJF).
In its ninth year, the NSJF is a three-day event that includes international headliners Mariah Carey, Maroon 5, Pitbull and Ozuna, a move that the tourist board anticipates will carry the forward momentum through the summer and into the fall. Also on the horizon is the re-opening of the Curaçao Marriott, a two-year project that is expected to drive new business from North America.
“We’ve experienced tremendous growth this winter, particularly from South America and the US,” said Paul Pennicook, CEO of the Curaçao Tourist Board. “The increased demand from all international markets shows that our strategies, including securing additional airlift and working closely with our private and public sector partners, are effective. I am confident that we will continue to build momentum to reach our goals as set forth by our five-year master plan and share the Curaçao experience with the world.”