WILLEMSTAD.-Minister of Economic Development, Ruisandro Cijntje, proudly and with great satisfaction, announced once again that the preliminary figures from the publication of the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten, Economic Bulletin of March 2024, show that the tourism sector is the main engine of economic development in 2023 and also in 2024. Minister Cijntje’s management over the past two years has focused on the tourism sector, which is the sector most likely to contribute to economic growth. The result of these efforts is reflected today in an economic growth forecast that has surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

The economic growth of the past year has focused on attracting new airlines such as Azul from Brazil, Corendon Airlines from Amsterdam, Delta Airlines from Atlanta, and United Airlines from New Jersey. There has also been an increase in the frequency of existing ones such as Air Canada, Jet Blue, Copa Airlines, and Avianca. In addition, investment in the hotel sector has contributed to the growth of the tourism sector. Constructions such as Corendon, Kurá Botanica, Harbor Hotel, One Mambo Beach, Pyrmont, The Ridge, Dolphin Suites, Marriott Courtyard, and Bed & Bike in Westpunt are some of the investments that have contributed to the growth. Minister Ruisandro Cijntje continues to work with stakeholders in the tourism sector to attract more airlines, stimulate the development of new hotels, diversify the tourism market that spends the most, and improve the tourism product. Regarding cruises, different ships have visited Curaçao for the first time, such as the Carnival Celebration and Harmony of the Seas. The popularity of Curaçao as a tourist destination has attracted a substantial number of tourists.

As is known, the contribution of the tourism sector to the total foreign exchange is approximately 45%. Tourism as a sector constitutes more than 30% of our GDP. This demonstrates that the sector still has potential for further growth and there is room for further diversification, especially considering that in the region the contribution of tourism to GDP percentage is higher. Minister Cijntje is very aware of the ‘life cycle’ of the tourism sector and the phenomena that the evolution of the sector entails.

Currently, Curaçao, compared to other economies in the region, is in a growth phase. In November 2023, the historic milestone of receiving over a million stay over tourists in Curaçao was celebrated. The goal for this year 2024 is to attract around 670 thousand stay over tourists to Curaçao. In this context, together with the Ministry of Economic Development and the CTB, Minister Cijntje is preparing some conferences to be held at the main conference, in celebration of World Tourism Day, which will be on September 27th. During the conferences before September 27th, the Minister will address the different phenomena that the growth of the sector entails and the management that must be adopted taking into account the challenges accompanying the sector’s development.


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