22:04 PM

TravelPulse Q&A: One on One with Curaçao

Brian Major for TravelPulse


Paul Pennicook, now in his second year as the Curaçao Tourist Board (CTB)’s CEO, is among Caribbean tourism’s most experienced marketers.

Pennicook previously served as Jamaica’s director of tourism between 2003 and 2006, returning to the post from 2014 to 2017.

The Jamaican native also served as the county’s director of tourism twice and held senior management positions with Jamaica’s SuperClubs and Sandals Resorts International. In addition, Pennicook served as president and CEO of Couples Resorts and directed marketing and sales activities at Air Jamaica.

Pennicook is a Cornell University graduate with a degree in hotel management. Fluent in English and Spanish, his skills and experience have been widely recognized. During his tenure, Jamaica Tourist Board officials cited Pennicook for modernizing the organization’s operations and “deepening the partnership with industry players.”

Pennicook has performed similarly in Curaçao, where his leadership has helped the destination to post a 10 percent increase in North American arrivals from May of 2017 to May of 2018 and strong first-half 2019 visitor arrivals.

Pennicook spoke this week with TravelPulse to discuss his plans following his departure from an office that he has now held on three separate occasions.

TP: Curaçao has enjoyed strong land-based and cruise ship visitor arrivals during the winter season of 2019 after a positive 2018. To what do you attribute this growth?

PP: We attribute this growth to a number of factors [including] more focused effort on the core mission of CTB that of marketing the destination, increased airlift from major markets, and the launch of an effective branding campaign

TP: Do you feel Curaçao is somewhat under-the-radar compared with other Caribbean destinations? If so, what are doing to market the island to a wider group of travelers?

PP: Curacao has been somewhat under the radar in the North American market. We are working diligently to extend our branding campaign all across North America. In addition, we are intensifying our travel agent education program.

TP: What, in your own words, are the top attractions that first-time visitors to Curaçao should look forward to enjoying?

PP: For first-time visitors to the island, I would strongly recommend coming to Punda Vibes on a Thursday night in Punda, the downtown area. The whole atmosphere and the “vibe” is just unbeatable. It is something you do not ordinarily find in the Caribbean.

Read the full interview, published on May 29, 2019, on the TravelPulse website.