NEW YORK CITY -- As part of our coverage of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Annual Caribbean Week event, Travel Agent sat down with Evita F. Nita, executive director of the Curacao Tourist Board, and learned of the destination’s master plan to double the island’s arrivals and hotel rooms within the next five years.
Currently, the island has roughly 5,000 rooms. With hotels like RIU and Westin in discussions with Curacao, along with some hotel expansions, Nita told us we should expect to see that number bump to nearly 10,000 within five years. And naturally with more hotel flights and hopefully more nonstop air service from the U.S., Nita expects arrivals to spike significantly as well.
In fact, Nita told us the Board is in discussion to add new nonstop flights this winter from New York. Although she wouldn’t tell us what carrier the island is speaking with, she said it was a carrier that doesn’t currently fly to Curacao. Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines and American Airlines all fly to Curacao.
The new rooms and the new flights will further boost tourism from the U.S., which has already seen a 30 percent spike from this time last year, Nita says. Last year, the island saw roughly an overall drop of 20 percent in total arrivals. The U.S. increase this year can primarily be attributed to a second flight added from the U.S. by American Airlines in November.
“If you have the rooms then you must have the flights,” she says. “The more flights we add, the more we can expect our arrivals to increase. I think that is what we are seeing from the U.S. so far this year.”