Business View Caribbean, July/August 2018

94 95 THE CURAÇAO HOSPITALITY AND TOURISMASSOCIATION represent are the larger properties and boutique hotels.” The Associa- tion’s membership includes not only hotels and apart- ments, but also airlines, car rentals, restaurants, tour operators and destination man- agers, attractions, the airport, the ports authority and ports services, industry and trade developers, advertising and publishing companies, banks, insurance firms, training and consultancy entities, resort developers, dive operators, shops, and other tourism related businesses. Its mission is to “deliver a visi- ble, leading, and effective market- ing contribution towards a vibrant and sustainable Curaçao tourism, hospitality prod- uct.” Mercera became the President of CHATA in January 2017, and under his tenure, the Association has gone through a major restructuring.“We did an overhaul of our bylaws,”he begins.“We changed the structure AT A GLANCE THE CURAÇAO HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM ASSOCIATION WHAT: A trade association representing the Curaçao tourist industry WHERE: Willemstad, Curaçao WEBSITE: in terms of representation on our Board. Because there is a growing demand for more hotels on the island,we have changed the structure to give more members and more types of members more voting rights. Instead of the large businesses that traditionally built on the island,we’ve seen growth in the past two years of a lot of small, boutique companies being built–a small restaurant, a small dive shop.We’ve granted them a special fee to join the Association, but also special voting rights so they can also have a voice within their smaller membership category.” In addition,Mercera says that the Association has become “more vibrant,more outgoing, and more outspoken.Also,we have added manymar- keting and product activities to bring more value to the membership,”he adds.“By organizing more activities, you are more visible and sharing indus- try news and insights and doing more analysis and research has triggered more interest.We have developed partnerships, especially with the media community, to share the tourismmessage.Over the past three-and-a-half years,we have invested heavily in our online presence–social media and our website–talking about different things of interest to the tourism industry.” “The Association is also in partnership with the Tourism Board, that is responsible for the desti- nation marketing,”Mercera continues.“Whenever there is the opportunity for the Association to tag along or to join a trade show or conference where the Association can represent its members,where