A blue sea, white beaches, colourful architecture and lush tropical plants. The Caribbean destinations are clearly visible at the Vacation Fair at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht this week, with the presence of Curaçao, St. Eustatius and Saba.
St. Eustatius and Saba are sharing a booth, located next to the bigger one of Curaçao.
Shandra Rouse and Sharmin Turner and Sint Eustatius manned the St. Eustatius booth on Wednesday, the day that members of the travel industry and the media had the opportunity to visit a day before the popular fair opens to the general public.
“Sint Eustatius is great for hiking, diving or walking tours. We have a historical museum and a rich history. New is the luxurious Golden Rock Resort. You can also take the Makana Ferry and visit the three islands, St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius. And people can also go to St. Kitts with the ferry,” Turner said.
Cennet Misirle provided information about Saba at the Saba booth. “I want to introduce Saba to people. Tourists often know Curaçao and Aruba, but there is more in the Caribbean. Nature enthusiasts will love Saba where the highest point of the Kingdom is located. You can also combine a visit to Saba with other islands,” she told visitors at the booth.
Especially Curaçao is expecting a lot of visitors in the coming four days of the Vacation Fair. Curaçao is a very popular destination among Dutch tourists: a record number visited Curaçao in 2022, and this growth is expected to continue in 2023
Many Dutch tourists specifically search for a vacation in Curaçao on the Internet. In 2022, people searched four times more often for Curaçao than in 2019, according to figures of the Vacation Fair. The larger interest probably has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic when Curaçao was considered a safe and available choice.
“We were lucky that Curaçao was reopened quickly as a vacation destination during the pandemic. Curaçao was a good destination for the Dutch market last year and we want to continue that trend this year,” said Muryad de Bruin of the Curaçao Tourist Board. “Many people share their positive experiences with family and friends,” said colleague Rebecca Marval.
New projects and developments in Curaçao are propagated at the Vacation Fair, such as the new villas at Papagayo Beach Resort, the Mangrove Park, Kura Botanica Hotel and the mural paintings in Otrobanda.
Curaçao remains well accessible for Dutch tourists, despite the decision of Royal Dutch Airlines KLM to reduce the number of flights and to only fly to the island once a day until the end of March due to capacity issues at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. “We are still talking with KLM. And TUI has no issues with the airport capacity,” said De Bruin of the Curaçao Tourist Board.
Aruba, Bonaire and St. Maarten are not present at the Vacation Fair this week. This is the first Vacation Fair in two years since the COVID-19 pandemic: in 2020 and 2021, the fair was cancelled.
The Daily Herald.