Culture and tourism

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For the course Sociology and International Developments we have chose the topic Culture & Tourism.

Our Tourism is increasing less the last period, because of the financial crisis that is taking place in the USA. Curacao is using our Culture as a promotion to solve this problem.

The last few years they are building few hotels on Curacao (For example: The already built “Renaissance Hotel”, Hyat, Cabana Beach Resort, Jan Thiel and Caracasbaai), because 2 years ago there was a scarcity in hospitality, and also to attract tourists.

We have chosen this topic, because it is a present problem which can affect our economy. This is because tourism is one of our premium Income Resource.

The objective of this study is to find out solutions for this problem to prevent an economy crisis in Curacao.

Research Question:

  • Can our Culture help us increasing our Tourism?

Sub Questions:

  • Why is our Tourism increasing less the last period?
  • Why are the investors investing in Hotels while our Tourism is increasing less?
  • What are the characteristics of the Culture of Curacao?
  • How can our Culture help us increase our Tourism?

We will use different resources to obtain the necessary information to complete our report. Primary we intend to search for information about tourism & culture in the local newspapers, then we will make an appointment with the CTB (Curacao Tourism Board) and the “Kas di Kultura”. And also we will search for information internet.

The report will be divided in chapters, in each chapter a sub question will be discussed.

Chapter 1 Tourism Increasing Less

In this chapter we will discuss about the results that we had this last years in the tourism sector on Curacao. We will mention different reasons why is our tourism increasing less and also analyze what cause this less increasing. And we will give different ways how to increase our tourism.

Tourism of Curacao stayed stabled with an increase of 1 % in the first 9 months of the year 2009

The quantity of tourist increase but the quantity of nights decreases. The numbers published by the CTB indicates that the first 9 months of the year 2009 a total of 267.968 tourists has visited our island. Compare to the year 2008 there was a increase of 1 percent. But the total nights that the tourist stayed in Curacao decreased compare to the year 2008 with 7 percent. The reason why tourist stayed less nights in our island is because of economic reasons (they spend a economic total).

Analyses of the Total Arrivals of Tourists

The total arrivales of tourists from europe where register with a increase of 9 precent of 98.965 tourist in 2008 to 108.123 tourists in 2009. The cause of increasing is because there where a mayor market of Netherlands that where register, 9.609 more tourist in the first 9 months in the year 2009 compare to the year 2008. And the other important European markets that increase are: belgic with 10 percent and Germany with 23 percent. And other important Markets that develop less where Sweden with a decrease of 34 percent and Finland with 24 percent.

The total arrivales of the South-America markets where register with a increase of 4 percent in the first 9 months of the year 2009. This development is caused by the increase of the Suriname markets with 45 percent, Colombian with 7 percent and Venezuela with 5 percent. And other important markets that where register with a decrease where Brazil with a 19 percent and Ecuador with 41 percent.

The total arrivales for the first 9 months of the year 2009 from North-America and Canada where registered with a decrease of 25 percent, the total was 30.390 tourists in 2009 and 40.329 tourists in 2008. Caribean markets decrease the first 9 months of the year 2009 with 13 percent, because of the decrease of the quantity of tourist from Jamaica with 23 percent, Trinidad & Tobago with 21 percent, Aruba with 7 percent and Dominican Replubic with 6 %. This situation in the Caribean Area will stay fragil untill the Economic of North America gets better.

A total of 289.878 cruise tourists visited Curacao in the first 9 months of the year 2009 which is an increase of 27.7 percent compare to 2008.

Curacao is also experience the World Economic Crisis. But together with a private sector and community we can pass the negatives that this crisis brings with confident.

Solutions to increase our Tourism

There are many ways to increase our Tourism. But now a days tourist are very caution about their safety. That means tourists are not only aware to have a great hotel with a great room, a nice view of the beach, but also aware about the safety of the room, that means if the room has a window that can be open or if the room is safety. That's why Curacao is planning to begin with a group of hospitality security, so they can offer the tourist a better and safer hospitality.

Curacao began with this security training not only to be recognized, but to have a recognized certificate in USA. Because now a day many American tourists are very cautions about the place they choose to have a pleasurable and safety vacation. That's why Curacao to gain more American tourist they began with this Security training.

Chapter2 Why Investing in Hotels now?

The past few years we have noticed that they are constructing many hotels on Curacao, meanwhile there is a global economic crises taking place. The decision to invest in constructing a hotel is not based on actual performances. An investor analyses the future possibilities of making his investment lucrative. Several factors are considered previous to realizing the investment. As a result, the decision to invest is based on the estimated future performance of the tourism sector. This sector is growing every day, which makes it very interesting for the investors.

Effect of Economic Crises

The economic crisis had an effect on the quantity tourists Curacao received from the North-America, it had a decrease of 25% September 2009 compared to September 2008. But it's very important to know that our island have visitors from all over the world. If the economy crisis reaches a region, the people of that region will travel less or will stay fewer days at their destination. But the good news for us is that we have tourists coming from other region, for example Europe, South-America and Caribbean. September this year we had an increase of 4% in tourist visiting us from South-America (Venezuela), 9% increase from Europe and 141% from other destinations. Here you can see the decrease caused by some region will be recompensed by other region, causing an increase of 1% September this year in our tourism.

In this case you will think the Hotel Occupancy rate will increase during 2009, but this isn't the case. October 2009 the average hotel occupancy was 74.92% compared to 85.18% in 2008. During October there was a decrease which led us to a hotel occupancy of 76.45% for 2009 compared with 80.57% in 2008. During September 2009 the average hotel occupancy was 74.75% compared to 85.69% in 2008. During September 2009 the hotel occupancy rate dropped to 74.15% compared with 79.74% in 2008. This is the effect of the increase of 27.7% in cruise ship arrivals on Curacao. This tourist came to visit our island, but didn't need a hotel stay causing a decrease in our hotel occupancy rate.

Future vision

The hotel chains who are building their hotels here on our island in first place didn't prognosticate the global crises and this situation. Maybe you think it's not the right moment to invest in hotels. You're wrong. The Curacao Tourism Board and the Kas di Kultura are working hard together promoting our island. Right now they are training personal for the tourism sector and the hotels are expanding their service. This because we are trying hard to increase our tourism, and when our tourism increase we need to have a room for every tourist. It's not only about the stay, but we have to give them the experience of their live and this we give them through our excellent service. This is why the investors are investing right now in our island. They have a future vision, where the tourism will increase drastically.

Chapter 3 Mangusada

Our beautiful Curacao is a small island in the Caribbean and has a population of 130,000 people. There are different cultures living side by side here on the island. There are people with culture background from Holland and Europe, Jews, Africa, Caribbean, Arabian, Syria, Madeira, China, Surinam etc. As you can see, Curacao have a Multi-culture and diversity in cultures which is called a “Mangusada”

Curacao's Culture

Our culture reflects its African culture background through language, music, and dance. An example of the African culture reflecting in our own culture is the music and dance of “tambu”. This music and dance was past through generation by the slaves, who carried the tradition and music of Africa. The dance is called “baila ban” (dance the drum). It is very unique, the dance consists of two people dancing but never touching each other. They moves their hips and bodies with the rhythm while leaving their feet in place. The slaves master and later the Catholic Church made this dance in the past unpermitted. But the dance had still been danced undercover, which is the reason how this dance does still exist and is an important part of our culture. Now a day it is a jewel of our culture, it reflects the past of our antecedents and history of our island.


There is an annual festival of “Seu” where musicians from around the island come to compete to win the title of “kantado mayo” and have their song selected as the song for the annual cultural festival called “Seu”. So you can appreciate this honored music and dance at the “Seu”. This annual cultural festival takes place a couple of weeks before eastern holidays. To understand the origin of this festival we have to go back in the history of Curacao where the slaves made a road march to celebrate their harvest. The slaves communicated true sounds of a blowing conch shell (Karko), this is why they use the conch accompanying the tambu. They also use “chapi” which is an instrument of agriculture, where they make sounds by slamming a metal peace like a nail on hoe. Now the people aren't celebrating during this parade what their land gave them, but they are celebrating our culture. You will also see this at the folklore performances, Carnival and during the holiday seasons.

Other origins

Also other African musical instruments were used here on the island. One of them is the “bastel”, it is a horn made of a cow horn. Another example is the “benta”, which is a twig from a “karawara” tree, fastened at both end with a row, and bent to form a bow. The player places the bow in his mouth and taps the row, creating sound. This instrument is used to play the “zumbi”, which refers to zombies. Curacao has also adapted the European music and dances of the colonials and made them their own. For example the French quadrille, waltzes, and polkas were given an African flavor.


The original language of Curacao is Papiamentu, it's a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and some African dialect. This language has been spoken for 300 years in the ABC Islands, and was intended for spoken communication not written. Along this language the residents of Curacao speaks several other languages. The most can speak 3 languages which are, Papiamentu, Dutch and Spanish or English. Dutch because it is the official language of Curacao, and because there is a high quantity of immigrants here on the island, the most people learn to speak a third language or it is their own language.

Technology and Culture

Technology of information and communication is a innovation which has not only technical dimension, but also cultural dimension. Basically every change has an effect on the culture. There is a variation in the way people react on the new technology, this for two factors which is acceptance and indifference.

The new technology makes the difference between old and new generation.

On the other hand, there are countries which can't maintain the speed of innovation because of scarcity in infrastructure and digital equipment. In our case infrastructure isn't a problem, but the recourse to buy the equipment and to pay for the use of the new technology.

Chapter 4 Culture Helping Tourism

Culture makes effect on the economy via tourism. Tourism is basically interaction of culture. Culture tourism is when people spend their time or vacation on cultural activities, either in their own country or in a foreign country. Our culture can help us increase our tourism in different ways.

Cultural Tourism

Cultural tourism is different of “Mass-tourism”. If mass-tourism has “Sun, Sand and Beach” as slogan, cultural tourism has “Culture, Adventure and nature” or “Travel to experience” as slogan. Mass-tourism is very dangerous for our culture, because it effects our environment and nature very strongly.

Culture tourism is interested in tourist activities with culture flavour. These tourists are open to observe, experience and learn from things. In this case culture is the principal product.

This product must be accessible, attractive and complete, to be effective. The tourists must be able to experience physically our product. For example, if a tourist visits the Snoa of the Hindus, they must be able to walk around and take a look and also experience a ceremony. In our case, if it is a dance of “kaha-di-orgel”, the tourist must be able to see the dance and then try the dance to experience our culture. There must be an explanation about the origin of the dance as a social activity some years ago and the influence from different cultures.


Cultural tourism has always culture in mind and is very environment friendly.

Culture tourism is a long lasting and positive tourism, because it makes tourists today happy, while protecting and bringing new opportunity for future tourism.

To maintain this tourism, we have to minimize the damage to our culture, we have to respect our community and cultural identity of our own country. We have to promote our culture and let them experience this more complete possible. The companies involved in tourism must act with a responsible identity to maintain our culture.

Another example which tourism can help us is by conserving our nature area, archaeology and historic places and Traditional culture art. Tourism can be a reason to manage to conserve our environment also in a financial way which can lead to a benefit for the community, by organizing attractions with our environment.

But if the managing is not well planned or managed, tourism can be a result of congesting, pollution and other kind of problems to our environment.

And if there isn't a good control on the tourism this can cause a loss of economic benefits for the community.


This year was “Siman di Kultura y Turismo” or better known as “Siman di Kulturismo” very successful. It's not only because the island is aware about the culture but also they had mixed the week of Culture with the week of tourism. This is the first time in history “Kas di Kultura” in conjunction with the Curacao Tourist Board organized from September 12 to 27, two weeks full of culture and tourism. The motto of this celebration was “Huntu desaroyando un dushi Kòrsou”.

This project was aimed to show and remember the population of Curacao what our beautiful island has to offer and make them conscious about the values of our touristic attractions.

Culture forms a big part of the tourism in Curacao, a great example is that our Center State is part of the “World Heritage List”. That's why it's better for us to know more about our Culture and Folklore, so we can offer this to the tourists.

There are many places that have beaches and sun, that's why we must distinguish our self in different ways, and that can happen when we use our culture. Many companies, sponsors, voluntaries and others are working on our culture so it can be very successful.

We think that a community that knows what his island has to offer and is conscious about its values, helps in the development of tourism. In other words more we know about our culture, the prouder we will be of our heritage and these will beneficiate our tourism.

Relationship between Tourism, Community and Neighbourhoods

Creating a responsible Tourism

Tourism can bring different kind of benefits and also problems to the community or neighbour. But if it's well organized it could bring very good benefits for the community, for example; Possibility for work, great income and also give small business the opportunity to participate in the economy.

Tourism is a stimulation for other economic activities for example; agriculture, fishing, product industry and work of art. Tourism is responsible to make our community a better one, by given the possibility to have a better commercial circle and a new culture for our community and tourists.

Involvement of the Community with Tourism

This concept of involving the community with the tourism already exists for 10 years now on an international level. In the Caribbean the last 5 to10 years they are trying to fix the negative impact of the Tourist Industry. They are also trying to expand the industry around different destinations.

The governors of the islands in the Caribbean were trying very hard to benefit the Tourist Industry. Meanwhile the income of Tourism has an average of 25% of the total Export on the different islands in the Caribbean.

Benefits of the involvement of the Neighbourhoods with the Tourism

An organized and well managed Tourism can bring sufficient benefits to the local community. Some Potential benefits are:

  1. Increase of the benefits distribution of Tourism
  2. Help decreasing unemployment, poverty and criminality
  3. To stimulate our local production. (For example: work of art, local products)
  4. To contribute to an authentic experience for the visitors
  5. And empowered the identity of the state

Mayor plan of Tourism

The actual mayor plan of tourism since 2005 till 2009 is to emphasis the attention in the involvement between the neighbourhoods and the tourism. This is to expand the duration of the tourism. And also the actual mayor plan is to give recommendations to begin with the existing projects for each neighbour (For Example: “Boka Sami”, “Banda Bou” and “Marie Pampoen”).

CTB's management

The management CTB is applying towards tourism in the neighbourhoods, is based on giving help and stimulating our own people to be more involved (as businessmen) in tourism activities. In this way not only local people are beneficiated from a durable development but on the same time our manners and idea's are conserved for future generations. Within the concept of involvement of the neighbourhoods in the touristic development, it's the population who plays the key role. The involvement and participation of neighbourhoods or area's in tourism is a long term process, requiring patience. The types of projects that are being executed vary from neighbourhood initiatives to efforts in conjunction with the private sector of substantial investments, for a durable development.

Necessary steps for Tourism to enter the Neighbours

To ensure the process of involvement of the neighbourhoods in the development of our tourism on a durable way, some steps have been identified. These are:

  1. CTB organizes encounters with “Unidat di barrio /Plataforma di region”, meanwhile the region/neighbourhood will be evaluated for necessities and priorities.
  2. CTB will institute and lead a “Grupo di Konseho” and a “Grupo di Trabou” for tourism within neighbourhoods that will include entities from the government, the private sector and non-governmental organisations. They will work on a plan of action that contains the priorities and the plan of action that identifies the human and financial allocation of resources in the region/neighbourhoods.
  3. On behalf of the “Plataforma di region” the “Grupo di Konseho” and the “Grupo di Trabou” must prepare an action plan for the financiering of the project.
  4. Once the project is approved the “Grupo di Trabou” will determine how the guidance and implementation will be.
  5. “Grupo di Trabou” will control on the moment of implementation.
  6. An external entity will perform an analysis/evaluation of the impact on the region/neighbourhood.

Pilot project: Boca San Michiel

One of the first neighbours that introduced the concept of tourism in neighbours was Boka Sami. As a result of this project different activities have been revived. Such as the celebrations of “Bati Huda”, “San Juan”, “San Pedro”, “Parke di Lus”, “Dia di Boka Sami” and “San Miguel”. Different positive changes surged at the Sami Sail, vacation excursions have been organized. Excursions for the elder, social activities are being organized and the week of culture and the week of tourism are also being celebrated at Boka Sami.

Boka Sami has a lot of potential to develop a durable tourism, an interesting point is that the neighbourhood is communicating more and more with the tourists. The inhabitants of the neighbours are more conscious that tourism contributes to a durable development.

Finally there was an interest of hotel investors that were interested in buying large pieces of ground at Boka Sami, this all thanks to the cultural development of the area.

Guarantee a Durable Development

We must keep the inhabitants informed about the benefits when implementing tourism within the neighbour and the inhabitants must be conscious about the risks and costs related to the development.

A profile must be made of the potential tourists that will visit the neighbour, in this profile we would address the manners and the expenditure patrons of the tourists.

The inhabitants must be thought that some common gestures and actions could improve the possibility to receive tourists in a successful way.

Finally we must identify the possible obstacles that must be surpassed to guarantee a durable development of the touristic product within the neighbourhoods.


As we can see culture can help us increase our tourism in different ways.

This year was “siman di kulturismo” of Curacao very successful. It's not only because the State is aware about the culture but also they had mixed there week of Culture with the week of tourism.

Culture forms a big part of tourism in Curacao, a great example is that our Center State in the “World Heritage List” appear. That's why it's better for us to know more about our Culture and Folklore, so we can offer this to the tourists.

There are many places that have beaches and sun, that's why we must distinguish our self in different ways, and that can happen when we use our culture. Many companies, sponsors, voluntaries and others are working on our culture so it can be very successful.

Culture makes effect on the economy via tourism. Tourism is basically interaction of culture. Culture tourism is when people spend their time or vacation on cultural activities, either in their own country or in a foreign country.

They are other methods to increase our tourism. For example: Curacao began with a security training in hospitality to have a recognized certificate in USA. Now a day many American tourists are very cautious about the place they choose to have a pleasurable and safety vacation. That's why Curacao to gain more American tourist they began with this Security training.


Different resources have been used to obtain the necessary information to complete our report.

First of all we started searching for information about tourism & culture in the local newspapers; La Prensa and Vigilante.

Then we made an appointment with Ms. A. Meulens from CTB (Curacao Tourism Board), we have obtained statistics with information about the total tourist visiting Curacao.

Afterwards we mailed “Kas di Kultura” in search for information about our culture and the effects of culture on our tourism. But at the end we went personally to obtain the desired information.

And also we search for information on the internet:,, and