Rojer: ‘With creativity we can reach the South American market’ (part 2)
WILLEMSTAD - In a quite extensive interview with the new South American marketing manager for the Curaçao Tourist Board (CTB), Andre Rojer discussed the various possibilities for reaching the South American market. According to Rojer, this market could be as important as the U.S.A and Canadian markets. “All we have to do is be creative and the people will respond,” said Rojer.
In the interview with Curaçao Chronicle, Rojer focused mainly on 5 markets namely, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. Since his appointment as the marketing manager for this region, Rojer has been focusing on introducing Curaçao as a new product for the South American travelers.
“Curaçao is different from other Caribbean destinations. It is not what the travelers think when they book a trip to the Caribbean. Most of the time, the travelers, when booking a trip to the Caribbean, think about long stretched white sandy beaches, all-inclusive or people spending most of the day at the hotel being served while lying in a beach chair baking in the sun. Curaçao is not that. We are not, as they say, a cookie cutter destination.”
According to Rojer, Curaçao has to target those who have been to the Caribbean before and would like to return but they want to see something different. “Curaçao is actually not for the first time Caribbean traveler. And that is ok with us. We don’t mind being second or third. We are the type of destination that when travelers have been to the ‘cookie cutter’ island and they are ready for something different, they can come to us.”
Rojer says he doesn’t mind Curaçao being the second option. At least the island is on the list. Curaçao is for someone who is more educated about the Caribbean. “Someone who has never been to the Caribbean before and chooses Curaçao as its first experience, we are going to have a problem. Because of the perception people have of the Caribbean in other countries. But we don’t want that either. Curaçao has to remain unique and that is why I don’t mind being a second or third Caribbean experience.”
This uniqueness, according to Rojer, sells in the South American market. The culture, the history, the culinary experience and lots more. “Yes, you will get lost while driving around, yes you do have to take care of your belongings, and no we don’t have the Disney type of smile or the Rasta looking guy on the beaches greeting you. Here you are among locals, you experience their lifestyle, you eat their food, and it’s genuine and different.”
Rojer indicated that in his travels to these markets, the people have told them that they want that. They want what Curaçao has to offer. But it takes creativity to bring the Curaçao product to the travelers, especially in those five countries.
Recently, Curaçao was surprised with two positive news. Avianca and Copa Airlines increased their flights to the island. Travelers from these five markets have more and better options now to fly to the island. For people from Brazil, for example, it is a long flight but they are used to it. If they take a red-eye flight from Sao Paolo to Bogota, with Avianca’s new schedule, they can be in Curaçao and be on the beach in the afternoon. “But like I said before, it takes creativity from our part. To do marketing in Brazil it costs a lot. You can compare it to New York. Curaçao doesn’t have that kind of money so we have to be creative. We have to be online, on people’s cell phones. They need to see pictures and feel what Curaçao has to offer them.