November 2, 2023 –WILLEMSTAD – Minister of Economic Development, Ruisandro Cijntje, says he is extremely pleased with the impact of tourism on our economy for the first three quarters of 2023. Cijntje indicated that the projected contribution of 2.245 billion guilders to our economy underscores Minister Cijntje’s vision for the development of Curaçao’s tourism, which not only entails an increase in the number of stayover tourists, cruise tourists, and their direct spending but also an inclusive industry that includes the development of tourism supply sectors, local entrepreneurs, and the community as a whole.
Cijntje’s ministry expects that tourism, Curaçao’s primary economic pillar, will have a very positive contribution to Curaçao’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the year 2023, just as it did in 2022. Last year, it contributed 35% to our Gross Domestic Product. Minister Cijntje firmly believes that it is necessary to continue diversifying niche markets, such as sports and eco-tourism, MICE and event tourism, sailing and yacht tourism, and medical and wellness tourism. In addition to this, Cijntje says he will ensure further investment in the capacity of hospitality and hotel personnel and the development of safety, cleanliness, transportation, and enhancing our product.
The concept of “experiential tourism” is furthering our ability to connect tourism with the local community. This allows our tourists to better blend in and get to know our local people more closely, experiencing more of our cultural history, creativity, and gastronomy. We can already see several of these developments in Boca Samí, Otrabanda, and some areas in Banda Abou, Nieuw Nederland, and Seru Fortuna. We are also focusing on making the sectors that supply to our economy more competitive, so they can create more jobs and retain more revenue from what tourists spend. This will create opportunities for more small and medium-sized businesses to establish themselves in the tourism sector.
Minister Cijntje indicates that he is realistic and also foresees the challenges that growth in the tourism sector will bring. This will require necessary adjustments in various areas, including the number of flights, accommodations, tourist areas, beaches, and traffic, to ensure that our country has the capacity to accommodate the growth that we project for the industry. Furthermore, the minister believes in innovation and the introduction of new financial models in tourism to make the industry gradually more self-sufficient. The industry’s growth itself and the 2% increase in the chamber tax for tourists (from 7% to 9%) will help finance these investments. Minister Cijntje expressed his gratitude for the tireless work and efforts of the stakeholders in the tourism sector to enrich the tourism sector. “Together, we are able to implement the current strategic tourism destination plan for Curaçao, which has been approved by the Council of Ministers, with the goal of achieving sustainable, inclusive, and resilient tourism growth for Curaçao’s economy.”