Curaçao Tourist Board - Annual Report 2017

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2017 Annual Report


2017 was a remarkably challenging and exciting year.


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaรงao Tourist Board

Welcome to CTB’s Annual Report 2017 To many of us at the Curaçao Tourist Board, 2017 felt like a rollercoaster. Slowly pushing towards forecasted peaks, with more surprise drops than we could have anticipated. Our meticulous planning was disrupted as we faced unexpected challenges with airlift, crossed new marketing frontiers, witnessed budget miracles, held our breath as markets plummeted and rejoiced as we were pleasantly surprised by emerging ones. 2017 was a remarkably challenging and exciting year. Through it all we managed to remain positive, even when facing our own limitations, and we grew confident in our increasing ability to shift; to quickly find new avenues through which to move forward. In the face of adversity, our teams stuck together and searched for inventive ways to work around hurdles. We looked to our partners and stakeholders for stronger alliances that enable us to keep shifting and growing and found that we are all standing together. We can think of no better way to describe our vibe during 2017 than with the saying in Papiamentu: Huntu Nos ta Hasi’é [Together we do it]. Hence, this year’s annual report theme.

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board


Table of Contents Curaรงao Tourism Performance 5 Message From The Supervisory Board 6 Message From Our Deputy Director 8 The Year-in-Review 9 Target Markets 10 Research 19 Digital Marketing 21 Communication 22 Strategy Development & Planning 23 Product Development 25 Tourism Master Plan 28 Finance 30


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaรงao Tourist Board

Curaรงao Tourism Performance TOTAL









Cruise calls








United States of America




















The Netherlands



United States of America


















Stay-over Arrivals Visitor nights Cruise passengers

The Netherlands




Alternative Accommodations



Large Hotels



Small Hotels













Annual Report 2017 | The Curaรงao Tourist Board


Message from the Supervisory Board

Alone we are strong, together we are stronger.

In tourism, the saying “alone we are strong, together

compensate for their vacancy. As a consequence of

we are stronger,” takes on extraordinary meaning.

having only three board members, we had to stop the

The challenges we faced during the year helped us

audit committee on account of the statutes requiring

increase our commitment to forge stronger alliances for

five members. During the year, we stumbled upon

the betterment of Curaçao tourism. 2017 was a year in

a case of embezzlement and had to hire Forensic

which we laid the groundwork for a new management of

Services Caribbean to help us take the necessary

CTB. Amongst all the things that happened in 2017, we

steps to ensure that this does not happen again.

are especially proud of the extra airlift we now have

The financial figures of 2016 took longer than

coming to the island, of our new collective labor

expected, however, we were pleased that they were

agreement, and of the improved relationship with the

finally approved at the end of 2017. On a brighter note,

Curaçao Hospitality and Tourism Association (CHATA).

intensive negotiations with the union led to a new

Despite the fact that three of our board members

Collective Labor Agreement for a period of three years.

stepped down mid-year, we worked diligently to



Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board







management possibilities for the future. In the first

out the Tourism Master Plan, (TMP), we appointed a

half of the year our relationship with the CHATA

dedicated Project Manager. Great care has been put into

reached a low point. This was mainly due to opposing

creating stronger alliances with our stakeholders, who

views about their involvement in the CTB. We are

have taken a seat on our TMP committees, while we all

proud to have ultimately achieved a stronger working

work together towards reaching the milestones set forth

relationship in spite of all of these experiences and

by the TMP. However, funding remains a bottleneck.

obstacles. Our yearly retreat was a successful one, in

Notwithstanding this drawback, we look back on all that

which we made important decisions that resulted in a

was accomplished in 2017 with gratitude in our hearts

long list of action points. On this list we have included

and trust that together we will conquer all remaining

the ongoing issue of the office building. We are looking

challenges in 2018 to the benefit of our Dushi Kòrsou.

into alternative housing for our personnel, to improve both their efficiency and wellbeing, and to lower current

Rudy Eleonora

costs incurred by the current building. In terms of rolling

Vice Chairman

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board


Message From Our Deputy Director 2017 was a challenging and productive year. Together, we kept finding creative ways to deal with some unforeseen external constraints and airlift issues, which kept us on our toes for most of the year. We dealt with constraints, such as the political situation in Venezuela, the postponement of the Curaçao North Sea Jazz to 2018, the cancellation of all Insel Air flights, some unfortunate airline strikes, bankruptcies and sudden changes in flight schedules, and we even felt the effects of travelers avoiding the Caribbean during the hurricane season, even though Curaçao is outside the hurricane belt and has not experienced a hurricane for as long as any of us can remember. Thankfully, we managed to mitigate the effects of these challenges in the majority of our key markets, and even rallied with additional airlift from Sunrise Airways, Fly Allways, PAWA Dominicana, and JetBlue.

I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in our organization’s resilience, and a certain sense of awe in our people’s creativity.

We added Curaçao to their itineraries, and at the end

We are eagerly looking towards a promising 2018,

of the year, KLM added five additional weekly flights

in which we will start implementing the tourism

to Curaçao. We were also excited to see the USA and

master plan and continue to focus on more airlift

the Colombian markets take off and to see that Curaçao

and on increasing overnight stays in hotels. We

continued to book great results in Europe.Throughout

intend to borrow on the local market to invest more in

the year, we continued our efforts to improve Curaçao’s

marketing and more in the USA market. I feel a sense

tourism product. Seeing the Marie Pampoen area bustling

of accomplishment and pride in our organization’s

with pedestrians and families enjoying the new facilities,

resilience, and a certain sense of awe in our people’s

is just one of the wonderful satisfying moments we get

creativity. They continue to infuse our culture with

to share with our fellow Curaçaoans. To see the fruits

unique and effervescent experiences for all to share and

of our efforts and our Dushi Kòrsou blossom, is one of

enjoy. I have no doubt that, together with our partners,

the joys of working together for the betterment of our

we will reach a new level of success in 2018.

tourism sector. Despite the chaos in the markets, we continued to lay the much-needed groundwork to roll

Hugo Clarinda

out the Tourism Master Plan; planning, forging alliances,

Deputy Director

figuring out pathways, and eliminating blocks.


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board

The Year-in-Review Curaçao tourism is a dynamic, exciting sector, bustling with activity, teeming with satisfaction-clad accomplishments and a sprinkle of sudden twists and turns - there is hardly a dull moment. If we were to recount all that happened in 2017 in all our departments, it would make this annual report too extensive. Most of what we worked on throughout the year was geared towards one of our target markets, Curaçao’s tourism product, or the Tourism Master Plan. Rather than describe in detail what happened in our departments, we chose to describe the main factors that defined these three main subjects, in an attempt to capture what was at the heart of the year-in-review.

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board


Target Markets In our efforts to get more travelers to visit Curaรงao, we targeted: North America; Europe; South America; and the Caribbean. Each of these market segments is headed by a dedicated team.





Annual Report 2017 | The Curaรงao Tourist Board

North America Efforts to grow our US and Canadian markets were mostly handled from CTB’s regional office in Miami, Florida. We shifted our marketing communication towards a more data-driven approach, which has proven more effective. Despite some challenges, both the US and Canadian markets showed significant improvement.

United States Our marketing and PR efforts were mainly focused on three specific geographical regions in the USA: New York as the primary market, South Florida as the secondary and Chicago was added as our newest market in 2017. After defining an exact profile of our desired customers in these markets, and matching this with the kind of experience Curaçao has to offer, we mapped out the goals and targets for 2017, namely:

• Increase brand awareness, • Increase number of visits, • Increase length of stays, • Stimulate hotel stays (versus alternative accommodations), • increase airline load factors, • and ultimately achieve additional seat capacity from the US mainland to Curaçao.

Marketing Campaigns were mostly centered around creating branded customer engagement and interaction, e.g. partnerships with media platforms and gamification, (innovative marketing that turns an activity or task into a game triggering action from the target audience).

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board


We also added powerful innovative ways to target the

Not to be overlooked, is the amount of local traffic

profiled customers according to their specific likes and

traveling to and from the USA, taking seats away from a

behaviors, using tools such as geo targeting, which allows

potential American tourist. In the third quarter of 2017,

us to reach consumers in an interactive and dynamic

the threat of hurricane activity became a concern for

way. A Curaçao commercial that automatically pops

the Caribbean at large. Although Curaçao’s location is

up on our target market demographics’ smartphones,

described as officially out of the fringes of the hurricane

whenever something specific plays on TV, is one of the

belt, a handful of potential visitors chose to cancel their

geo-targeting examples we applied.

vacation. In addition, not to overlook that MIA—one of our main connecting airports— also suffered by hurricane

With the closing of the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort

activity, causing temporary airlift issues and the chaos

resulting in a 245-room gap from the preferred hotel

affected travel from the USA. During the year in review,

brand choice of Americans, especially when it comes to

the addition of JetBlue Airways came at the right time.

the business-oriented segment, our Meetings Incentives

We were finally able to cater to the demand of the

Conventions and Exhibition, (MICE), niche market took a

state of New York, by promoting non-stop service.

blow. As with most of our targeted markets, the airlift

With strong partnerships, a matching advertising

issues affected projected figures. At the beginning of

campaign, paired with effective public relation actions,

the year airlift was mainly from non-stop flights coming

we were successful in making JFK service a success,

in from New York, Miami and Charlotte. A sudden change

with the potential to grow in capacity.

in American Airlines’ aircraft configuration resulted in fewer seats available. In the new schedule, American Airlines replaced their twice-daily Boeing 737 with the more efficient Airbus 319 with a capacity of 30 seats less. Meanwhile, Insel Air flights were suspended, causing a large gap in seats from the United States.


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board

Throughout the year we have successfully trained more than 1,100 travel agents in Canada.

Canada Visitors from Toronto and Montreal are a great match for

The Canadian market showed its potential for growth.

the Curaçao product offering. Canadian travelers tend

Along with partners like Air Canada, Sunwing Vacations

to be more adventurous, are fond of culture, curious

and WestJet Vacations, we were able to attract more

to learn about the local heritage and are total foodies.

Canadian travelers to visit Curaçao.

Most show less brand-loyalty towards big brand-name hotels, opting for boutique hotels and all-inclusive

In 2018, we hope to add at least one extra weekly flight

experiences. Canada’s tourism market is mainly driven

year round, plus an additional winter service to keep

by trade partners, including wholesalers and travel

Curaçao’s momentum going in the Canadian marketplace.

agents. Meaning that the education and partnerships with the Trade sector is key. Throughout the year we have successfully trained more than 1,100 travel agents in Canada to be better able to sell Curaçao to travelers looking for their next vacation. Results of such actions were the ability to have more knowledgeable travel agents that can sell Curaçao with confidence, which ultimately leads to more bookings to Curaçao, higher airline load-factors and higher hotel occupancies. Our website holds a more detailed view of the market figures than is depicted in the Curaçao Tourism Performance section of this annual report.

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board



The Netherlands continued to be the main feeder

when KLM added five extra flights weekly to Curaçao.

market for Curaçao in 2017, driven diligently by

The added airlift is a major barrier that has been lifted

our marketing team based in the Netherlands.

to increase passenger arrival from Europe. Hurricane

Germany, our second target market in Europe, showed

season had little adverse effect on arrivals from Europe.

notable growth.

Demand stayed high regardless. In addition, some flights to Sint Maarten were diverted to Curaçao.

The Netherlands The challenges surrounding airlift during the year

We saw little to no change regarding where the Dutch

inevitably affected the European Market. Inter-island

choose to stay during their vacation in Curaçao. However,

connectivity plays an important role in bringing European

their length of stay was longer than in 2016. This could

stay-overs to Curaçao, especially since the available

be attributable to the rebounding of the European

direct seats from Europe did not meet the demand.

economy. However, Dutch traveler expenditure was

Our data shows that approximately 11,000 Dutch

lower than that of the German traveler. The 2017

travelers found their way to Curaçao in 2016, by

target arrivals from Holland were set at 165,000 at the

traveling with Insel Air via neighboring islands. When

beginning of the year. Despite all the constraints, 96%

Insel Air stopped all flights to and from Curaçao, we lost a

of this target was met, which, given the circumstances,

considerable number of these passenger arrivals. Efforts

shows a real promise that such a steep target can, and

to increase direct connectivity to Europe were deployed

most likely will, be met in 2018 when more favorable

early in the year and finally paid off late in 2017

conditions are expected.


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board

Germany Germany showed some growth regardless of some

Aside from the airlift issues and marketing efforts, our

tour operator and air lift constraints. Figures show a

team working the European market segment faced a

dip in March. This was mainly attributable to technical

hurdle when it acquired and lost its Regional Manager

problems with the booking system of our main tour

in 2017.

operator. Both for the Dutch and German market, there was a Unfortunately, we lost Air Berlin in the third quarter of

distinct need to hire a creative studio to come up with

2017. We anticipated this loss and kept our branding

a 360-degree approach on how best to reach the target

efforts in Germany strong to keep demand for Curaรงao

consumers with the available budget. After an intensive

high in the hopes of attracting a replacement airline.

search, we found a creative studio in Germany which

The effects of the loss were less impactful than

can handle both creative and media buying. We hired a

anticipated. It turns out that the Germans are very willing

creative agency in Holland that will collaborate with our

to travel to Curaรงao via Schiphol, and many switched to

PR and Media Buying agency, to achieve a more creative

KLM. There was an immediate drop in arrivals, however

and distinctive approach.

this was not as drastic as we expected.

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaรงao Tourist Board


South America It was a bustling year for the South American market. Our focus —as has been the case for some years now— was mainly on three markets: Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil. We saw growth in Colombia and Brazil. Venezuela dropped considerably due to the political and economic situation and we welcomed growth from some countries we did not target, such as Ecuador and Argentina.

Venezuela The Venezuelan market has been declining over the past three years. This gradually grew as political decisions in Venezuela affected traveling to Curaçao. The market that was once our second largest, right after The Netherlands, was now ailing. We opted to maintain our presence there by maintaining contact with our tour operators, and did media and consumer activation. We pushed for seasonal travels such as Easter week, participated in road shows, and refocused on the more affluent travelers who were still able to travel. Despite the decline in the number of passengers, the passenger spending of Venezuelan travelers increased.

Their on-island spending grew and they were staying in

market as well because the airline flew direct flights from

larger hotels. In March, Insel Air cancelled all its flights

Medellin (primary market) and Baranquilla (secondary).

in the Caribbean which led to a drastic drop in passenger

A quarter of all Colombians coming to Curaçao made use

arrivals from Venezuela. The significant reduction in

of Insel Air flights, and we had many local people going

seat capacity made it impossible to grow, and as the year

to Medellin for medical purposes. Suddenly, Avianca was

progressed, the political developments in Venezuela

the only airline bringing in travelers from Colombia, which

caused a further decline in Venezuelan travelers arriving

is also a hub to Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, and other

in Curaçao.

Latin American destinations. This drove the ticket prices up. The congestion of Avianca soon led to more seats.


Avior, the Venezuelan airline that also flies to Colombia,

There has been a steady increase in Colombian

increased its flights when it saw the demand of people

stay-overs over the past three years. The elimination

trying to find a way to come to Curaçao.Meetings with

of an entry visa for Colombians traveling to Curaçao in

Avianca led to their deployment of larger airplanes to

2015, also contributed to this. The market is performing

ease the flow of passengers. COPA Airlines also flew

well, showing an increase of approximately 10% every

to Colombia, but Colombians were not choosing COPA

year.Regarding our main airlift partner in Colombia,

to travel to Curaçao. During the year, we faced another

Avianca’s flights, were predominantly full, with over 80%

challenge: Venezuela closed its air space for Colombian

load factor. Still, in 2017, airlift issues hampered our

flights. Flights from Colombia to Curaçao had to take a

efforts in the Colombian market. When Insel Air stopped

different and longer route.

its operations, it immediately affected the Colombian


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board

As 2017 progressed, we remained very aggressive and

We had some other bloggers return to Curaçao, and

focused on creating higher brand awareness in Bogota

created a buzz that brought us 7,000 followers. Similar

and Medellin, adjusting digital marketing components

types of branding awareness led to further growth in

to remain concise in reaching the right demographics.

the South American markets in 2017. However, again we

As the year progressed, Avianca’s pilots went on a

faced disappointments when Insel Air stopped their five

strike that took very long, and significantly disrupted

times per week flights to Manaus. Passenger arrivals

the connectivity between Curaçao and Colombia and

dropped immediately following the lost connectivity.

which subsequently also affected the Brazilian market.

Insel Air from Manaus contributed to 9% of the total

Flights from South America and Europe in its totality

number of Brazilians coming to Curaçao. Brazilians would

were affected since there were no crews available to fly

soon find their way to Curaçao via Miami and we quickly


countered with a campaign, together with American Airlines, to entice more Brazilians to arrive via Miami.

Brazil In Brazil, we rolled out a focused media plan and strategy.


The main goal was to establish a strong branding,

We did not set Ecuador as a target, however, we selected

creating and increasing the demand for Curaçao travel.

two tour operators that are committed to Curaçao and

We saw an increase in arrivals in 2017. Our two main

offered our assistance, while they did the rest. Ecuador

partners COPA (via Panama) and Avianca registered

grew almost 40% compared to 2016. Although still a

an increase in bookings and increased their seats. Our

relatively small market, we see the growth potential.

efforts included a combination of traditional media,

The best way to do this is to work with a tour operator,

digital marketing and much more. We reached out to

given that they know the sales channels and the market

bloggers and social influencers. We welcomed blogger,


David Brazil, who has 4 million followers, to Curaçao.

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board


Caribbean CTB has Aruba and Surinam at the heart of its Caribbean marketing efforts. Travels from these target markets generally spike around the many great events happening on the island throughout the year, such as Carnival, Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival, and many others. In 2017, the foundation responsible for the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival, (CNSJ), skipped their indispensable annual CNSJ Festival, promising a return in 2018. A huge Caribbean traveler favorite, the demise of the festival affected arrival figures. On March 8th, Insel Air stopped all flights to and from Trinidad. Even though Trinidad was not one of our target markets the flights coming in from Trinidad three times per week with a capacity of 80 passengers generated substantial seat numbers to the island. Further into the year, the local airline reduced their daily flights out of Aruba, causing a huge shortage of seats to bring travelers to Curaçao. In the month of June, Fly Allways started flying twice a week from Surinam Airways, adding approximately 150 seats weekly.

This helped to curb the drastic declines in stay-over

commercials were used to inform both the potential

figures from Surinam with competitive tariffs. In

and repeat travelers. Under the circumstances it was

November, Aruba Airlines relaunched their daily flights

most important to keep a Curaçao presence in the market

from Aruba. Limited budgets in the Caribbean target

and to maintain the relationships built within these

markets call for creative ways of stretching every dollar.

markets. In December, Insel Air relaunched one weekly

Efforts were focused on other events including Carnival,

flight to Surinam. The economic situation in Surinam

Drag-races, Caribbean Gospel Festival, KLM Marathon

led to the devaluation of the Surinamese Dollar, which

and other sport and culinary events. Marketing efforts

in turn affected spending power and vacation travels to

included social media campaigns, consumer shows in


Surinam, trade shows, co-ops, billboards, radio and TV


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board

Research The Marketing Research Department is CTB’s center of research and statistics. It collects data, conducts research and produces ongoing statistics on stay-over arrivals, duration of stay, spending, type of lodging, and countless other performance indicators. Every year, we also conduct research surrounding a specific local event. In 2017, this event survey was focused on one of our biggest events: Carnival. The objective of this annual event survey is to collect quantitative data about the tourists’ experience surrounding such event. The questions cover aspects such as tourism spending, experience during the event, and social aspects such as interaction with locals, perceived quality of the event and more. These indicators also allow us to analyze the effectiveness of its promotional efforts and the impact thereof on the event.

In 2017, an additional event survey popped up unplanned; the World Domino Championship was held here in Curaçao, and Fundashon Desaroyo Deportivo Kòrsou approached us in an effort to figure out how visitors would experience the domino event and its impact on the island. The World Domino Championships 2017 tourists stayed for an average length of 6 days and spent an estimated total of $269,459 while they were here. The research also showed the potential of this type of tourism for Curaçao, showing among other things, that sporting events bring a significant impulse This research on the economic benefits of Carnival for the Caribbean and Curaçao led us to speak at two international conferences on tourism research in Orlando, FL, at which we shared our research and findings with others.

Carnival Research

to Curaçao tourism. Visitors of sporting events have a higher daily spending rate than vacation tourists, who spent on average $159 per person per day. The findings of the World Domino Championship Survey are available at CTB on request.

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board


The existing business intelligence software, Cognos,

A benchmark study comparing Curaçao to similar

was broadened in 2017 with an innovative file named

destinations such as Aruba, Bonaire, Sint Maarten,

Active Report which enables each of our regional

Barbados, and Martinique, was also conducted by the

managers to directly access data that they can use for

Marketing Research department during the year being

their strategies. The added value of this report is that it

reviewed. The objective of this study was to compare

becomes accessible from a smartphone, by downloading

Curaçao’s tourism competitiveness by analyzing tourism

the IBM Cognos Mobile application. By using this tool

performance metrics of other selected destinations in

every regional manager has immediate answers to

order to identify our strengths and weaknesses and

questions based on current data, allowing for quicker

develop plans to increase our performance. Some of

and effective decision making.

the key performance indicators analyzed in this study to determine competiveness are the population, arrivals

Another interesting market study was conducted

year 2015, main contributor of visitors, number of

in the USA in March 2017 among individuals who

weekly flights, number of airlines and room capacity to

expressed their interest in vacations in the Caribbean.

name a few. Each indicator was analyzed per selected

The information obtained was used as the basis for

destination and ranked from 1 to 6. The results were

profiling our target groups in the USA. It enabled

used to analyze and evaluate Curaçao’s performance.

us to implement smarter, better-focused marketing

To give an example: Curaçao was ranked as number 5

and, make more efficient use of our limited financial

in total number of stayover arrivals to the island. The

resources to reach our targeted consumers. The biggest

full report is available at CTB. The Benchmark Curaçao

take away from this study was information obtained

Report is available at our offices on request.

about travelers’ planning activity, which revealed that travelers continue to research, plan and prepare for

In 2017 we also conducted quantitative online surveys

their trip until the minute they leave for the airport.

to past visitors. We collected a total of 5,100 surveys

We adapted our marketing communication strategy

during the year. The objective of this research was to

to target this behavior effectively to our advantage.

gain insights on the spending behavior of the tourists

This Curaçao Travel Journey Report is available on

visiting Curaçao and the impact on the economy


according to the market profile of these tourists traveling to Curaçao. This research is still ongoing. The full report is scheduled to be presented at the end of June 2018.


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board

Digital Marketing Our








communicating with potential and on-island visitors to Curaรงao. We made major efforts in 2017 to keep increasing our online activities to entice the audience to visit and explore the website We made sure to maintain a high level of content optimization, worked on generating session increase, improved organic traffic and lowered bounce rates, all while ensuring that our pages could consistently appear at the top of a search engine result, for a specific set of keywords. Our efforts paid off since most of these objectives were exceeded. The visits to peaked at a staggering 2.1 million web sessions during the year being reviewed. From these sessions, the vast majority came from a combination of organic and direct traffic.

Overall Web Performance in 2017 Overall Overview




Web Session*




Unique users**








Pages/session*** 2 3 -23% Avg. Session Duration




Bounce rate 65% 60% 9% * Total website visits. This includes repeat visitors. ** New visitors only. *** Pages/session: The decrease in this number reflects the improvement on the website to facilitate browsing.

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaรงao Tourist Board


Communication If something is happening at, via, or with the CTB, then it is being communicated on a media platform under the guidance and assistance of the communication department.





communications needs of all of our departments, often beating the clock to tell the local community and our partners about CTB’s activities through TV shows, radio spots, interviews, reports, press releases, newsletters, ads, press conferences, and videos. We experienced a remarkable increase of our total media value based on public relations, which shows the effectiveness of much of the efforts put forth during the year. Our media presence underwent an equally notable growth in 2017. The non-paid publicity ROI was tallied at 854,784 in 2017 versus 757,623 in 2016. A growth of 12.8%. We produced fourteen TV programs in 2017. Our monthly 5-minute TV reports elaborated on various projects that the CTB was involved with. At the beginning of the year we also made a 30-minute video production recounting 2016 events.

A top five list of other memorable communication moments in 2017: 1 The making of the Marketing Update to inform the

4 Several video productions of events, among others

sector about CTB’s ongoing marketing efforts and

the inaugural flight ceremony of Sunrise Airways

trending topics.

and the celebration of World Tourism Day 2017 which included free tours for the local community

2 A Quarterly press conference led by the Minister

to several tourist attractions.

of Economic Development that we participated in, together with the Ministry of Economic

5 The making of a Happy Holidays spot starring

Development, (MEO); CHATA; and the Curaçao Ports

children of Curaçao spreading the warmth of the

Authority (CPA), which also included an update on

season, which captured the hearts of viewers and

the Tourism Master Plan. The goal was to illustrate

was also shared by many colleagues with their

how tourism was performing.

contacts. The children in the spot symbolically represent the future of Curaçao and of our tourism.

3 Coordination of the inaugural flight ceremonies for Fly Allways and Sunrise Airways in close cooperation

Enjoy our Summary of Tourism 2017 video.

with our partners CAP, MEO and CHATA.


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board Happy Holidays

Turismo 2017

Strategy Development & Planning

The Strategy Development and Planning department

simply visiting here. We organized a workshop on this topic

acts like a think tank for the organization. Even with

and chose four local attractions to be coached into full-

its own objectives and tasks, it is often involved

fledged traveler experiences. The Chobolobo Distillery,

in other departments’ strategic endeavors. It also

the Den Paradera Herb Garden, the Toko Williwood Area

monitors the targets set by the other departments

and Kas di Pal’i Maishi each showed activities that offer

and produces a quarterly Tourism Barometer with

a typical local experience to travelers, and were chosen

useful analysis, which is increasingly used by senior

as pilot projects to be developed with the help of local

management and the CTB Board.

experts. This project spanned approximately 8 months and even included a visit from our personnel. We visited

In 2017, we sharpened the key performance indicators

these attractions in a bus, the same way visitors to our

that CTB produces, expanding the indicators to measure

island would, to sample what potential tourists would

performance to the benefit of strategic analysis of all

be experiencing. We took the opportunity to share our

managers and our board.

findings with the project as a way to help them improve.

Experiential Travel

Tiger Team Investment Promotion Revived

The Experiential Travel project, which started taking

As part of the recommendations from the National

form in 2016, grew some more in 2017. Our island can

Development Plan, the government intensified its

benefit from experiential travelers, whom are often

investment promotions activities. In light of this, it

willing to pay more to experience Curaçao, rather than

revived the Tiger Team Investment Promotion.

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board


In 2017, we took stock of the pending projects in the tourism sector and the bottlenecks they faced and advised the government on how to proceed in order to get these projects to the implementation phase. We also mediated with the relevant organizations to help lead these projects to fruition.


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaรงao Tourist Board

Product Development

Curaçao, as a tourism product, cannot thrive

We increased the number of Tourism Destination Areas

without the ongoing efforts to maintain and

that we help protect, from 7 in 2015, to 14 in 2017.

upgrade our tourist areas, attractions, activities,

This allowed us to exercise extra control in more frequently

accommodations and its people.

visited tourist areas, which led to a significant decrease in incidents reported in these areas. We strengthened

In 2017, a national decree put CTB in charge of upgrading

our relationship with Politur and sharpened complaint

8 beaches: Caracasbaai, Daaibooi, Playa Santa Cruz,

handling procedures. During Easter weekend, an

Playa Kalki, Playa Kenepa Grandi, Playa Kenepa Chikí,

operation called ‘Operashon Siman Santu’ was launched

Playa Jeremi and Playa Lagun. Our attempts to carry out

together with 10 entities involved in local safety and

this task were hampered by the strained cooperation

security to provide all the necessary equipment, patrols,

with the various government institutions responsible

and cleanup at our tourism destination areas. For the

for parts of the actions involved. We did most of the

first time, during this annual operation, drones were

preliminary work to develop Caracasbaai and Playa Santa

used, which allowed for ample coverage of the areas

Cruz, and even obtained approval. However, due to a lack

and quick responses. The outcome of this extraordinary

of funds and cooperation from other local government

effort was that there was more visibility in these areas,

entities, these efforts did not come to fruition in 2017.

which led to more safety and a sense of security for the

We will continue to push towards improving our beaches

tourists. Working together led to a better exchange of

in 2018.

information and more knowledge and data to keep the areas safe.

Extra focus was placed on tourism safety in 2017 in order to bring an increased sense of security to our visitors.

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board


We directed our attention to our human resources by

or find work in the sector. It was funded by CTB, Reda

offering training to upgrade employees working in the

Sosial and SOAW (Ministry of Social Development, Labor

hospitality sector. Together with Teamwork Curaçao, we

and Welfare), and taught by One Curaçao, with social

offered a Customer Service Training to 50 hotel front-

guidance from SOAW and managed by CTB. This training

liners, that combined theory and practical coaching

will end in June 2018. The CTB offers to find internships

during real life situations.

for these students and we see a positive development of

We organized a successful training for 70 people working

companies expressing their desire to hire these interns.

in the safety and security sector. World-renowned

Our courses were rated highly and we are looking into

security expert, Dr. Peter Tarlow, was the trainer for this

the possibilities of offering them again in 2018.

group of 70 persons, learning how to handle emergency situations, in the event of a terrorist attack. The local

This awareness campaign ‘Kòrsou ta Dushi. Bib’é,

Police, Customs, Politur, Airport Police, CPA, security

Stim’é’, was launched on September 24th during the

officers, hotel security supervisors and managers, and

opening of Culture & Tourism week. During this launch

our own product development officers, among others,

we handed out Recognition Awards to key persons in

participated in this 4-day training. It included practical

our community. Elia Isenia received one for her lifetime

exercises that took the participants to key historic

contributions to our cultural scene in Curaçao. Dino Daal

landmarks, such as the synagogue and our forts, to

for being the first CTB employee in tourism to obtain

identify vulnerabilities and come up with possible

a Doctorate in Business Administration, (DBA), in April

preventive measures. The same hands-on approach was

2017, and sharing his findings in his dissertation:

used in our Tourist Guide and Hospitality Training.

Impact of Tourism on the Quality of Life of Residents,

This highly coveted course offered 60 persons from

The Case of Curaçao. On December 10th we organized

18-40 years, the opportunity to obtain a certificate that

the first Marshe (market) with a bang at Barber, with

will enable them to become a certified tourist guide

the intention to continue rolling it out to other villages


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board

throughout Curaçao. The objective of the campaign was

to a successful completion. Phase 1 has since become

to create local awareness about all that Curaçao has to

a popular recreational area; people use it for sport,

offer, and give us an appreciation for our island with

relaxation and events such as weddings and corporate

the hope of fostering a local desire to contribute to our

outings. CTB is in charge of management of the facilities

Curaçao product. The campaign will continue in 2018.

for the time being, making sure that landscaping, clean up, utilities and other necessary arrangements are being

The Culture & Tourism Week (Siman di Kultura i Turismo)

taken care of. In 2017, we worked extensively on all the

was held from September 24th till October 1st. We

necessary preparations for the Sport and the Middle area

had different projects during this week. We launched

of this master plan and at the end of 2017 the public

the ‘Kòrsou ta Dushi’ campaign in this week and; we

tender for the Sport area was launched. The Middle

visited 5 elementary schools that did small projects

area will be developed at a later stage as government

surrounding the ‘Kòrsou ta Dushi’ theme. We visited 7

funds become available. Execution of these phases is

companies who decorated and celebrated the week of

expected to start in 2018.

Culture & Tourism and shared our visits on social media. On World Tourism Day (September 27th) we organized

We dealt with more than 80 different press trips, fam

free trips to 4 tourist attractions for the community of

trips, media trips, bloggers, artists, and travel agents

Curaçao, namely: Landhuis Chobolobo, Dinah Veeris’ Den

visiting us from our four markets throughout the

Paradera, Kas di Pal’i Maishi and Williwood. We launched

year. Twenty-five dive shops and more than 60 guest

a new online program which ran from September through

apartments were audited by the Curaçao Innovation

December, in which we shared valuable information

& Technology Institute, (CiTi), to ensure that quality

about tourism development in our community. Invited

standards were adhered to. We also provided music,

guests, such as Elia Isenia, Dinah Veeris and other

dance and fireworks for cruise passengers when there

cultural icons appeared on the Turismo Online programs.

are more than 2,000 passengers in port, which equates to 40 - 50 times a year.

Development of the Marie Pampoen Area started in 2016. The government entrusted CTB with the responsibility for execution of the project. We worked closely with Heren2 as our technical advisors to guide this process

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board


Tourism Master Plan Approved in 2015, the Tourism Master Plan (TMP) just started to take shape in 2016 when it hit a financial wall. In 2017, we hired consultant Paul Kok, who on behalf of the CTB, will help bring the TMP to fruition. We have been working on it diligently throughout the year. During the year being reviewed, we re-evaluated the TMP and adapted it to current circumstances, readjusting time frames, visitor arrivals, budgets, marketing goals, and contingencies. We identified many barriers that needed to be lifted before we could implement the TMP, barriers that we can only lift with the full cooperation of local stakeholders working in the tourism field. The government changed the financial basis on which funds are allocated to CTB. This new financial model brought about uncertainty, and slowed down the funds flowing to CTB.

At the end of 2017, we still had not accumulated the necessary funding of approximately USD 40 million, projected for the TMP’s four years; negotiations for a loan with local banks are well underway and look very promising for 2018. A considerable amount of time and effort has been invested in aligning the public and private stakeholders and informing them of the plan and its benefits for Curaçao. The importance of working together to make the much-needed improvements to our infrastructure, will enable us to achieve the success we strive for in the TMP. We are keenly aware that we cannot implement the TMP efficiently without the valuable cooperation of the government, airport, harbor and hotel authorities, nor without adequate funding. Numerous presentations, meetings, discussions, and assessments took place to get everyone committed to the vision laid out in the TMP, and to find ways to lay the necessary building blocks for the changes needed before we can roll out the TMP.


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board

The CTB, along with the group of local stakeholders on which the success of the TMP depends, have to consistently come up with creative solutions to safeguard the implementation of the TMP. Together, we can do this.

The three main objectives of the Tourism Master Plan are: 1. Economic Growth: Investing in tourism to generate more business activity, more jobs, and more spending. 2. Improved Hotel Performance: A better Average Daily Revenue, (ADR), flattening the effects of seasonality and/or low daily rates. 3. New jobs and more employees through economic growth. Four strategies to be used to achieve the TMP targets: 1. Attract more visitors to Curaçao. 2. Increase airlift to Curaçao. More seats to the island are needed to accommodate growth in stayovers. 3. Investment in our people. Better education opportunities, hence, better services. 4. Adequate funding. Making sure the full TMP can be rolled out to reach the intended targets. Three main measurement points for the next 3-5 years: 1. Visitor arrivals (and length of stay/spending) 2. Airlift (seats and airlines/regions) 3. Other KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators).

Always at your service and help maintaining the level of operational productivity.

Annual Report 2017 | The Curaçao Tourist Board



Our Finance Department adheres to a fixed budget

the satisfaction of both the CTB and the Government in

received through government subsidies, which we

2018. In 2017, our cash flow suffered significantly due

supplemented with funds from room taxes. Under

to this development and we were challenged in a way

this agreement, the CTB used to levy and collect the

that made us readjust many plans and commitments,

room tax. In 2016, the Government changed its policy,

and as a result our priorities suffered. We found that we

and the room tax was replaced by a sales tax. This

had limited ways of monitoring the amount of funds at

made it very difficult for the CTB to be able to prove

our disposal, leading to inconsistency in the transfer of

what the exact amount due to our organization was.

funds to us. All this made it hard for our departments to

As a consequence, a period of uncertainty about our

function effectively in an organization trying to move

supplemental funds ensued, and it lasted all throughout

swiftly to conquer market share, attract more airlift,

the year being reviewed and will hopefully be solved to

implement a master plan, and improve its product.


Annual Report 2017 | The Curaรงao Tourist Board





Revenue from Government (Grant)




Revenue room and tourism sales tax collection




Revenue from Government Tourism Master Plan




Other revenue










Supervisory Board expenses




Operating expenses




Currency exchange rate difference














OTHER TOURISM PROJECTS Cruise tourism Market research




426,098 1,137,785

Third party initiative contributions



Product Development




Strategic Tourism Management

















To enhance job satisfaction to help achieve a high return on investment.


Perform consulting and advisory services related to governance, risk management and control as appropriate for the organization.



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