The CNSJF was held at the World Trade Center in Curaçao on September 3-5, 2015, marking the 6th annual CNSJF. This year’s festival offered, similar to the previous year, a unique promotion with one free admission to a show on Thursday night (September 3) featuring Juanes and Oscar de Leon. Friday and Saturday featured an impressive line-up of twenty-five top performers including Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriters John Legend and Lionel Ritchie, R&B legends The Isley Brothers, Grammy-winning star jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson, Enrique Iglesias, and Usher.
The festival attracted 7,216 international tourists mainly from the Netherlands, the USA, Venezuela, Colombia, Aruba, and Suriname. The typical attendee was representative of Gen X, enjoying a high level of income and education. Their travel party size was 1.73 which was significantly lower than the previous year and they stayed for nearly a week at the host destination. Nearly one out of four attendees were single and female, which reveals that the festival has a strong appeal to this specific lifestyle segment.
Most respondents were reasonably familiar with Curaçao as a tourist destination; but, for nearly three out of four respondents, the CNSJF was the primary reason for their visit to Curaçao. Half of the respondents attended the festival before revealing strong loyalty to the festival. Respondents were clearly pleased with their experiences at both the CNSJF and the host destination. Satisfaction and behavioral intentions to recommend CNSJF and Curaçao to others was also strong.
The spending per person per trip exceeded last year’s spending by more than US$600 per trip, amounting for a total spending of US$2,155.00. The spending per day per person was US$311. Last year’s respondents reported spending US$254 per day, which means that spending this year surpassed the year before by 22.5%. This year’s spending exceeded the spending per day per person of a typical tourist visiting Curacao by more than three times.
Hotels and restaurants captured almost half of total attendees’ spending. Compared to the previous year, spending in hotels increased by 69%, while spending in restaurants swelled by an immense 85.4%. The other two categories that also benefited the most were car rentals and nightlife, where spending per trip per person was US$183 and US$176 respectively. Spending in hotels, restaurants, car rentals, and nightlife soared by the highest amounts compared to the previous years.
The increase in spending may be attributed to the festivals’ high satisfaction level, the smaller travel party size, and longer stays. Nearly ninety-five percent of respondents were satisfied with the festival, while nine out of ten respondents reported a desire to return to the festival and to recommend it to anyone who asks. The festival was able to increase the attendees’ length of stay by nearly one week. This was due to the extension of the concert nights from two to three, as well as to the staging of multiple events outside the festival.
The substantial spending surge spawned significant spillovers into the local economy. The total direct impact was US$8.7 million, while the total indirect spending was US$7.2 million for a total economic impact of US$15.9 million. This year’s total economic contribution surpassed last year’s contribution by US$1.5 million. Due to the lack of household income data, Curaçao’s economic model does not allow for the inclusion of the festival’s induced effects. Had this data been available, the economic impact would have been much higher.
The highlight of this year’s festival is the seeming convergence between the festival and the host destination. The report last year expressed concern that “The ongoing and growing mismatch between the value of the festival and the value of the destination is endangering the viability of the festival.” More events outside of the festival have been staged this year, such as the Punda Downtown Jazz Festival, the multiple hotel after parties, and events at local cafes. Stakeholders other than the festival organizer have realized that for the CNSJF to stay sustainable over time more entertainment opportunities that blend with the festival should be developed.
The festival has finally been able to change the perceptions regarding the host destination as is revealed by visitors’ intentions to return to the host destination. For example, nearly 60% of respondents positively answered the question, “If the festival did not occur, would you still come to Curaçao?” Blending offerings that are staged outside the festival provides the host destination with the opportunity to take advantage of the economics that unique enterprises may bring. This, then, may enhance the destination brand with creative initiatives beyond that of sun, sand, and sea and into “beautiful nights in Curacao.”
Though it is hopeful that we are seeing signs of convergence between the festival and the host destination through the initial offerings, the efforts for this convergence are only surfacing. However, while signs of convergence between the destination and the festival are evident it is important for all stakeholders to maintain rigorous strides in order to fully align the high quality of the festival to that of the destination.
Curacao, Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival, CNSJF
Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies
Rosen College of Hospitality Management
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Number of Pages
Croes, Robertico R.; Rivera, Manuel Antonio; and Semrad, Kelly J., "Curacao North Sea Jazz & Destination Convergence: A Harbinger Beckoning?" (2015). Dick Pope Sr. Institute Publications. 39.