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Treasure Hunt

California Resident Holds Key to Curaçao’s Half a Million Dollar Treasure

Two-day Island Treasure Hunt Awards Life-Changing Grand Prize

WILLEMSTAD, CURAÇAO – Aug. 25, 2009 – Mother of four, Michelle Salge of San Jose, Calif. is half a million dollars richer today after embarking on a two-day treasure hunt on the island of Curaçao.

“Things are pretty tough in the US with the economy; I can send my kids to college, bills will be paid…oh God is good…this is amazing,” a tearful Salge said as she addressed the hundreds who gathered to witness the event.

Salge is among ten lucky North Americans who won a chance to participate in Curacao’s island adventure through an online sweepstakes held by the Curacao Tourist Board (CTB) earlier this year.

Stretching from California to New York, and as far north as Canada, the finalists represented a cross-section of North America: Stephanie Oswald from Atlanta; Sue Anne Howery from Mc- Farland, Wis.; Wayne Lehman of Calgary, Canada; Sabrina Booi of New York, N.Y.; Ron Effa of Bellingham, Wash.; Chester Baer of Arlington, Va.; Roland Philip of Van Nuys, Calif.; Beth Eckhardt of Cleveland, Ohio and Carol Brown of Buffalo, N.Y.

“I’m not going to lie I’m disappointed [that I didn’t win], but one of the other contestants said that this just means there is more good stuff to come for the rest of us,” said Oswald, who is no stranger to traveling as the editor in chief of TravelGirl Magazine. “All of the contestants had the right attitude. I love Curacao and am definitely coming back.”

The Curacao Hidden Treasure campaign was the CTB’s unique method of providing a big financial bailout for one North American resident, who may be struggling in this financial environment, and to build awareness for this up-and-coming destination.

The campaign kicked off by giving away a free vacation per day for 70 days. Those winners along with the Treasure Hunt finalists were among the nearly 400,000 unique entries on, the dedicated microsite created exclusively for the campaign. The on-island hunt allowed the contestants to experience Curacao’s hidden treasures, including its historic capital city and beautiful beaches, while hunting for medallions that were later exchanged for keys, one of which opened the treasure chest worth $500,000.

People could also follow the Treasure Hunt finals on FaceBook, Flickr and Twitter.

“The Hidden Treasure campaign was designed to inform travelers about our wonderful island, often described as the Caribbean’s hidden treasure, and Michelle’s tears of joy left us with no doubt that this campaign was a success,” said Evita Nita, Executive Director, Curacao Tourism Board.

With its pristine dive sites, secluded beaches, championship golf and rich local cuisine, Curacao offers a little something for everyone – from the adventure traveler to those who simply want to unwind (and enjoy its perfect climate). Curacao boasts an eclectic mix of history and culture, welcoming visitors to this unique island paradise.

It's not too late for you to discover Curacao, the Caribbean's Hidden Treasure. Visit Curacao Now to book your vacation today. Request your FREE Curacao information package or call toll free: 1.800.328.7222.

If you are a member of the media and would like more information on the Curacao Treasure Hunt, please contact:

Rachel McLennan
Hill & Knowlton NY
Cell: (646) 258-9795
Direct: (212) 885-0597 


Deb Duray
Hill & Knowlton
Direct: (212) 885-0603