The Tourism Renaissance Continues in Curacao
It largely began in the summer of 2022, when Sandals Resorts International opened its first-ever Dutch Caribbean resort in Curacao, and everything seemed to change.
Almost immediately, the “Sandals Effect” led to record-breaking tourism numbers on the island, particularly from the United States.
And the island’s tourism renaissance has shown no signs of slowing down, even as some destinations in the Caribbean have started to cool off.
The latest numbers are even better: Curacao reported 49,258 stopover visitors last month, a whopping 15.5 percent more visitors than the island received in an already record-breaking August 2022.
Those stopovers generated 417,712 visitor nights in August, up 7.8 percent compared to the same period in 2022, with a higher length of stay, too: 9.09 nights per trip.
The numbers were borne out in the hotel sector, too, which saw sizzling 76.7 percent hotel occupancy in August, 4.9 percentage points higher than August 2022 — even in a typically slow season for Caribbean tourism.
The Curacao Hotel and Tourism Association’s new interim director, Jim Hepple said, he was “pleased” at the strong performance, noting the continued growth of the US market and, interestingly, a sizable increase out of Brazil, too.
Hotel occupancy on the island is already nearing 72 percent for the year, with average daily rates up 8.1 percent and revenue per available room jumping 9.5 percent to $163.43 so far in 2023.
Of course, Sandals has been important, but it’s just part of the story for an island that has been smartly growing its hotel stock in recent years, with a focus on the biggest thing in travel right now: all-inclusive resorts. Indeed, Curacao has welcomed new resorts from brands like Wyndham, Zoetry and Hilton, among others.
It began with the Sandals Effect, but now the island is truly seeing sustainable tourism growth — you might even call it the Curacao Effect.