WILLEMSTAD — Perception and dreams on the future of the harbors on the island. Apart from fancy yearly statistics, the annual report from Curaçao Ports Authority also reveals the target of the harbor company. In this, it mainly regards the Caracas Bay Cruise Village.
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Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, which is the second largest cruise company in the world, has drawn up a development plan for the peninsula of Caracas Bay. The terrain will be transformed into a tourism and residential area. Ships of any size could moor at the existing piers.
The shipping company wants to make the ‘cruise village’ a destination where cruise tourists will visit during the entire year. In this, RCCL maintains the perception that destinations develop the rear sections into varied durable locations for cruise tourists as well as residential tourists. The company will also be participating with this project.
The plans amount to a five- and a four-star resort, an eco-resort and a marina with activities such as shops, catering industry and entertainment. The monuments Fort Beekenburg and the quarantine building will preserve their remarkable function and the conservation area on the peninsula should remain intact as well, according to Royal Caribbean.
In the annual report, CPA board-chairman Alexis Daou explicitly dwells upon the development perception of Caracas Bay: "We consider this development an opportunity in order to bring us to new economical levels; a unique opportunity, which we should not miss". This is not only to attract more cruise ships or revenues from passengers’ tax, according to the board-chairman. "We would change the entire concept of cruise tourism on Curaçao, if we could realize this project as a land." In that vision, the cruise tourism could develop as such that it could grow to become an economical pillar by itself (which is also the case on St. Maarten, red.). "This development will surpass anything that we could currently accomplish with just cruise ships visiting the island. We should grab this opportunity before others do."
CPA-directors Richard Lopez Ramirez and Agustin Diaz dilate upon the consequences of the widening of the Panama Canal and the possibilities this could bring for the island in combination with the perception of the Caracas Bay peninsula. The worldwide trend is that ships will become larger; tankers, cargo ships, but also cruise ships. The completion of the renewed Panama Canal in 2014 will lead to direct consequences for Curaçao.
"Skeptics will doubt the plans. Supporters of a cruise pier elsewhere on the island will feel threatened, but this is not about a second mega pier. Theoretically, we would still want a third, and even fourth or fifth cruise pier. However, we cannot realize this financially. The current cruise terminal will not generate any money for the next ten years."
The development perception is all about bringing the island ‘to the top amongst cruise destinations in the world with the help of powerful partners who strongly believe in our product with the willingness to invest as well’. The management makes an urgent call for support from the government, local project developers and tourism organizations. "A perception is a dream with a deadline. We must grab this opportunity now in order not to miss the boat."
The CPA-group had booked a turnover of 64 million guilders last year, and has now continued this growth. "This result is certainly no coincidence", board-chairman Alexis Daou states. "It forms the result of strategic decisions and hard work by my predecessors, the board of directors and the management of CPA."
CPA had booked a turnover of 67 million last year and expenditures amounting to 50 million. After taxes, the net profit had amounted to 11.7 million guilders, which is more than 4 million in 2007. A profit of 54 million guilders had been booked in 2007, but the expenditures had also been somewhat lower last year with 42.8 million.
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