WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao – The Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao became an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, today on October 10, 2010.
Curaçao has been one of five island territories of the Netherlands Antilles, which has had its seat in Willemstad, Curaçao, ceased to exist as a country on October 10, 2010.
Curaçao will now exclusively reap the benefit of taxes brought in from its rapidly-developing tourist industry. The change in Curaçao’s status to that of being an independent nation within the Dutch Kingdom translates to more tax dollars available for tourism development. Now, greater resources will be available on-island to develop new port facilities and hotels, positioning Curaçao for significant growth in its tourism product.
“Curaçao is thrilled to announce our status as the newest country in the world,” said Curaçao Tourist Board executive director Hugo Clarinda. “With this historic change brings huge potential for growth in our tourism landscape to meet the demands of the North American market which, as evidenced by Curacao’s consistently rising arrivals numbers, is increasingly interested in traveling to the hidden treasure of the Caribbean.”
The anticipated increase in hotel rooms will be welcomed by the North American market, which is showing a growing demand for an exotic, off-the-radar destination such as Curaçao, visible in the sheer number of Americans and Canadians visiting. Curaçao has seen an increase of nearly 40 percent in arrivals from North America, as of August 2010, the most of any other Caribbean island.
Looking forward to 2011, Curaçao is well-positioned, proving popular among sophisticated, upscale travelers, having been named as one of the “9 Top Spots for the Savvy Luxury Traveler” in a recent article on CNN.com. Curaçao also has plans to increase airlift from the Eastern Seaboard in the coming months, which will further enhance tourism to the island. The new flight schedules are projected to launch by the end of 2010.
With the opening of the island’s largest hotel, the highly anticipated 350-room Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort, Spa and Marina, in April 2010, Curaçao is expecting to see other well-known US and Canadian hotel chains to follow in those footsteps.
Curaçao becoming its own country, in addition to the new hotel development, will help to propel the island on to the North American travel radar as an emerging destination for Americans and Canadians to consider for travel in 2011.