My father, Basil, often implores that the Caribbean must continually remind the world that the archipelago is a diverse multicultural, multiethnic, multireligious, multiculinary, multigenre (musical), multilingual and multitalented group of destinations.
Nestled between North and South America, with Central America to the west and bordered by the mighty Atlantic Ocean to the east, it’s no wonder the region has been influenced by diverse cultures and histories.
Take Curaçao, for example. It’s been several years since I had visited the island, so my trip here this week presented an opportunity to experience this constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands through a fresh lens.
Located in the Caribbean Sea just off the coast of Venezuela, the destination offers a melting pot of cultures, with residents communicating in Dutch, Spanish, English, and their native Papiamento with ease and efficiency.
It didn’t take long for me to be reminded how multitalented the people of Curaçao are – from their musical and culinary prowess to their outstanding management of tourism and economic development activities.
Their communications talents are equally impressive, matched only by the warm hospitality eagerly extended to the regional tourism leaders assembled here for the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) business meetings.
The Curaçao Tourist Board, with its skilled use of data and analytics to drive arrivals and spending, offers an exciting model for others to emulate.
While taking a break from business activities, I had an insightful discussion with a local businessman of East Indian origin who has lived in various locations across the world. While he enjoys his annual international jaunts for business and soft adventure, he underscored that there is nothing more satisfying than returning to Curaçao, his home of several decades.
Travel to Curaçao is becoming wildly popular, especially among American visitors, many of whom are pleased – and surprised – to discover that while sun, sand and sea may be the common denominator, the Caribbean offers much more than a cookie-cutter experience.
After spending a few busy, yet delightful, days on the island, it is clearer than ever why travelers from around the world flock to the Caribbean for relaxation, restoration, recuperation, and for some, like the brother in the corridor, resettlement.
Considering a visit? Now is a great time to join locals and visitors alike in celebrating the spirit of Curaçao Carnival.
Until next week, te aworo!