- as an industry
When speaking of education it is important to view education
from three angles. Traditionally and historically education is thought
of as a social obligation and necessity. Education is increasingly
taking on a more dynamic and important role in the global knowledge
co mm unity that is driving a great deal of economic growth. In this
context and in the context of economic development it is important
to view education first and foremost as an industry, next as an economic
development multiplier, an finally as a tool for creating intellectual
As an industry, education is not dependant on a low-cost labor wage.
If fact, it is possible to be quite competitive with a relatively
high standard of living. Further, the ethnic diversity and multi-lingual
abilities of the population of Curaçao create the right environment
to bring in students from all over the world and certainly the region
for an enriching cross-cultural experience. Opportunities exist to
create a European, United States, and South American curriculum for
higher education and to benchmark best practices in trades, arts,
and other forms of education. As an industry, education can be a strong
generator of foreign exchange. Students pay tuition and students and
teachers alike live on the economy and stay much longer than tourists.
Education as an economic development multiplier and as a catalyst
Education also has the most potential of any industry sector to have
a multiplying affect on the economy. Aside from the direct benefits
of tuition, inflows of students generate a demand for housing and
retail development as they spend their money on the economy. Parents
come to visit, visiting professors come and go, each creating a demand
for airlift, hotels, and services. Most importantly, they become exposed
to the charm that is Curaçao and are likely to return. Education
potentially brings more people to Curaçao from the United States,
Europe, South America and the southern Caribbean. All segments of
the economy from taxis to restaurants to museums to dive shops benefit
from this reverse brain drain and the foreign exchange multiplies
through the economy.
Education to create intellectual capital
and a skilled workforce
The legacy of creating a strong education industry is that it generates
and nurtures a pool of intellectual capital which is the driver of
the new economy and creates an educated and skilled workforce. By
reversing the brain drain and brining students to Curaçao to
study from Europe, North America, South American and the Caribbean,
Curaçao will replenish its intellectual capital and stimulate
its economy while building the fundamental requirements to compete
in the global economy.
Entertainment - “The Curaçao Experience”
entertainment strategy is closely akin to an "edutainment"
strategy. The sophisticated and enriching environment that already
exists in the areas of fine dining, museums, dolphin therapy, etc.
are stimulated and enhanced by investments in the arts, and entrepreneurs
investing in these areas are encouraged. Diving as a natural advantage
and many investment opportunities exist in this area. Baseball training
camps, an entertainment district on the Otrabanda waterfront, drag
racing, golf, sailing, and fishing are all opportunities for growth
Curaçao also has a number of historical treasures. Historical
Willemstad's is listed as one of UNESCO historic sights. The...Synagogue
is the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. Curaçao is also home
to the Maritime Museum, the Slave Museum, and others. In fact, Curaçao
has more museums per capita than any country in the world. Cultural
fusion and geo cultural ties to Europe, South America, and North America
create natural investment opportunities in areas of art, cuisine,
fashion, and retail. Nurturing these types of entertainment builds
on the assets that are in place, leverage natural comparative advantages
and synergistically enhances the experience that is Curaçao.
In all cases, entertainment on Curaçao that enriches and reinforces
the quality of life and the sophisticated tourism experience is desirable.
Entrepreneurs with interest in these areas are encouraged to take
a look at Curaçao.
Curaçao is different from most Caribbean destinations and that
is in fact a great strength:
offers a unique experience that goes beyond sun, sand, and sea
offers a rich historical and cultural experience
is safe, friendly, and hassle free
has an air of authenticity about it and the tourism experience does
not feel contrived
is very livable and offers a great quality of life
has some of the best diving in the world and this asset is under utilized
also has sun, sand, and sea
Investments in the tourism sector that accentuate the uniqueness of
the island are encouraged. "Education & Sophistication"
is more than a strategy; it can in fact come to define the "Curaçao
Experience." Investments in art, dining, entertainment and edutainment
add to the quality of life and authenticity which allows Curaçao
to target the "sophisticated tourist." This tourist may
have done the all-inclusive super club on other island and be looking
for something different. They simply prefer a more authentic experience,
or a second home. They may be on an executive retreat or want to be
in a setting that stimulates the muse of a writer or artist.
Obviously, a Caribbean island must pursue tourism. However, Curaçao
is not betting only on the "me-too" tourism promotional
strategy that emphasizes sun, sand, and sea. Curaçao has all
this, but the strategy is to focus on the market segments that want
the unique experience that Curaçao offers.
The Sophisticated Tourist
The Sophisticated Tourist can come from many walks of life and may
be easier to define by what they are not, than what they are. The
sophisticated tourist as defined here is not looking for organized
entertainment such as found at a theme park or all-inclusive resort.
They are not looking to have their vacation packaged for them, and
they are not satisfied with only sun, sand, and sea, particularly
if they are isolated from the culture they are visiting.
The sophisticated tourist wants to experience the culture of their
destination; they do not want to be locked up on a resort compound.
They are often seeking a personally enriching experience, fitting
with the edutainment strategy. The sophisticated tourist is seeking
an experience. They are looking for something different, something
authentic, and perhaps something relatively undiscovered. Curaçao
is well-equipped to serve this diverse market by developing and promoting
it s natural advantages.
earlier in this paper, Curaçao has a very advanced financial
services sector. Against this background, investments in education,
the Curaçao experience, and sophisticated tourism create opportunities
for expanded business services. In particular, the opportunity exists
to tailor executive and vocational training for executives. Executive
retreats, trade shows, and business conferences are very suitable
for Curaçao and investments related to conference facilities
and support industries are encouraged.
Incentive Travel promotion dovetails nicely with the executive retreat
market, and exposes high income potential tourists to the Curaçao
Experience. By focusing on technology conferences, the eCommerce sector
will be stimulated. Ultimately, this cluster strategy aims at attracting
regional corporate headquarters that leverage Curaçao's assets:
an educated and multi-lingual workforce, great transshipment facilities;
a sophisticated financial sector, and a tremendous quality of life.
Investments in Logistics, Transportation, legal, financial, and eCommerce
companies are encouraged.