Prospects for Curaçao tourism look solid; Airbnb is also a growing and important component of its tourism industry

4 September, 2019

Curaçao is posting solid trends in tourism dollars and its hotel performance, which should bode well for the country’s increasing attractiveness as a tourism destination.

Curaçao’s Hospitality & Tourism Association (CHATA) has reported that the country’s hotel occupancy reached 77.8% in 2018, which was a 5.8 percentage point increase from the year prior. Average daily rates (ADR) grew from USD80.61 to USD90.74 and revenue per available room (RevPAR) increased by USD13.25, to USD128.70.

The country’s tourism body has calculated that tourism generated USD132.7 million for Curaçao’s local economy during the first two months of 2019, which was a 10% increase year-on-year. Approximately 46% of that total is generated by visitors from Europe (Curaçao is located in the Dutch Caribbean). Overnight visitors to Curaçao grew by +10% year-on-year for the first two months of 2019, with overnight visits from Europe increasing +9%.

CHART - 2014 was the peak year for arrivals in Curaçao, but while annual numbers dropped in the following years, growth returned in 2018 and their has been a strong start to 2019 in terms of visitor arrivalsSource: CAPA - Centre for Aviation and Curaçao Tourist Board

In early 2019 Curaçao and Airbnb renewed an agreement to promote the country as a leading tourism destination. During 2018 Airbnb hosts in Curaçao welcomed 23,000 guests, with an average trip length of eight days, which according to the Curaçao Tourism Development Foundation was significantly longer than the average stay in other places throughout the Caribbean. There are more than 1,900 Airbnb listings in Curaçao.

The tourism development body has noted that more than 950 Airbnb hosts in Curaçao benefit from the economic benefits that Airbnb provides through home sharing. “Curaçaoan hosts are a diverse group; 57% of hosts are female and 75% of hosts are between the ages of 30 and 59,” the tourism foundation stated.

Curaçao’s healthy tourism industry is beneficial to Hato International airport, which recently welcomed new services to Bogotá from the Colombian LCC Wingo, joining Avianca on the pairing. Visitors from Colombia to Curaçao have jumped +38% year-on-year, and Wingo’s two flights bring the total between Curaçao and Colombia’s capital to 13.

US major United Airlines plans to add flights from its Newark Liberty International hub to Curaçao in late 2019. The island is the airline’s 21st destination in the Caribbean and will result in United serving all of the “ABC” islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.

Within the Caribbean, Curaçao has added two weekly flights to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. From Europe, Condor is operating seasonal flights between Curaçao and Frankfurt, while Air Canada is also increasing its seasonal frequencies from Toronto to Curaçao in late 2019 – from three weekly rotations to four.