National Tourism Conference 2018

September 26 & 27, 2018
World Trade Center Curaçao


National Tourism Conference 2018

Theme: Pursuing sustainable growth in tourism through meaningful, cutting-edge transformation

The Curaçao Tourist Board (CTB) along with its industry partners Ministry of Economic Development (MEO), Curaçao Hospitality & Tourism Association (CHATA), Bureau Telecommunicatie en Post (BTP), Curaçao Ports Authority (CPA) are organizing the National Tourism Conference 2018 (NTC 2018), which will be held on September 26th and 27th, 2018 at the World Trade Center Curaçao.

The NTC 2018 represents an opportunity to consolidate our plans for sustainable growth in tourism, which brings meaningful and modern transformation throughout our sector and broadens the economic benefits for the majority of our people. Equally the conference will serve to jointly assess the advancement of the Tourism Master Plan of Curaçao, based on the targets (KPI’s) agreed and coincide on a future path of sustainable development.

Both days are filled with knowledgeable international and national keynote speakers that will cover topics such as The Future of Urban Sustainability & Smart Cities, Tourism Quality Standards, Curaçao Tourism Law and all that relates with the main theme ‘Sustainable Growth’.


September 26, 2018

Luncheon presentation and free sessions



September 27, 2018

Luncheon presentation and free sessions

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08:30 - 08:50 Opening speech by
Dr. I.S. (Steven) Martina, Minister of Economic Development
Miles Mercera, CEO & President of CHATA
08:50 - 09:35 Progress Tourism Master Plan
Current situation and Challenges ahead
by Paul Kok
09:35 - 10:20 Canada's Path to Tourism Competitiveness
by Greg Klassen
10:25 - 10:40 Coffee break
10:45 - 11:30 Back to the future: New Generation Cruising
by Julie-Anne Burrowes
11:30- 12:15 Choose between the following break-out sessions:
- Curaçao Tourism Law
- Physical Environment
- Sustainable air connectivity for Curaçao, reality or fiction: a regulator's perspective
12:15 - 14:00 Luncheon Presentation: Alternative ways of Funding Tourism
by Greg Klassen
Entrance fee ANG. 55,-
14:00 - 15:00 Choose between the following break-out sessions:
- MICE: A potential yet untapped?
- Cruise Tourism Development: Are we there yet?
- Vast Opportunities in Tourism stimulate lucrative and profitable investment possibilities
15:00 - 15:05 Conference closing
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08:30 - 08:40 Review/Summary of Day 1
08:45 - 09:30 Smart destination for leisure and business
by Franklin Sluis, CEO of BT&P
09:35 - 10:20 Values: the secret ingredient for developing an award-winning hospitality brand
by Simon Lewis
10:25 - 10:40 Coffee break
10:45 - 11:30 The journey to Curaçao's new brand positioning
by Douglas Spitzer
11:30 - 12:15 Choose between the following break-out sessions:
- Customer Journey: Understanding our customer through qualitative research
- Public Safety and Security
- Digital Marketing
12:15 - 14:00 Luncheon Presentation: The Future of Urban Sustainability and Smart Cities
by Christopher Castro
Entrance fee ANG. 55,-
14:00 - 14:45 Choose between the following break-out sessions:
- The Importance of Ground Transportation for Tourists
- Sustainable Tourism Development: A shared responsibility
14:50 - 15:35 Choose between the following break-out sessions:
- Institutional Attractions and Shops / Culture and History
- Human Capital Development
- Tourism Quality Standards
15:40 - 15:45 Conference closing
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Greg Klassen

BA, MBA Tourism Development Strategist Partner

Keynote Presentation
Canada’s Path to Tourism Competitiveness
Luncheon Presentation
Funding Tourism

A marketing and tourism industry strategist with 25 years of leadership with blue chip organizations including Canada's International tourism marketing organization. For a decade, Greg was the Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for Destination Canada and became the organization's Chief Executive Officer in 2013. Read more »

Greg and his team developed Canada's tourism brand bringing it from 12th position worldwide to number one in five years and gained recognition of Canada as the most recommended destination in the world to visit, by setting the foundation for Canada's current tourism performance at double the international average.

Canada was recognized as Canada's Marketer of the Year by Canada's Marketing Magazine and Greg recognized as one of Canada's top five marketers by Canada's Strategy Magazine. Greg is currently a Partner with tourism strategy consultancy, Twenty31 where he advises destinations around the world such as Jordan, Jamaica, Guam, Palau, Brazil and Canada on how to achieve competitive advantage through leverage of disruptive technologies.

Greg holds an MBA from the ASU Thunderbird School of International Management in Arizona and a degree in Economics from the University of Victoria. He is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.

Keynote Presentation
Title: Canada’s Path to Tourism Competitiveness

From awareness to conversion to the world's number one destination brand. Greg Klassen, Former CEO of Destination Canada will present Canada's path to tourism competitiveness and how Canada developed strategies, its international tourism brand "Canada.keep exploring" and other innovative programs to help Canada realize its international tourism competitive advantage as well as tools to help navigate the future of destination marketing in a highly disruptive tourism landscape.

Luncheon - Keynote Presentation
Title: Funding Tourism

How destinations are developing alternate funding models to manage their destinations. The opportunities and challenges of investing public, private and visitor funds for competitive advantage.


Cruise Industry Strategist

Keynote Presentation
Back to the future: New Generation Cruising
Break-out sesson
Cruise Tourism Development: Are we there yet?

Julie-Anne Burrowes is a cruise industry strategist with a primary concentration on product and destination development and marketing. After spending more than 18 years working in the cruise sector, Julie-Anne understands what drives success in the industry - it’s how well you connect, communicate and partner. Read more »

With a diverse background shaped by her work experience within the public and private sectors, her passion is to influence cruise tourism growth strategies and initiatives that are economically and socially sustainable. She seeks to develop linkages between cruise tourism and other segments to enrich the livelihoods of local communities.
Julie-Anne has previously held senior positions within the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), and the Barbados Tourism Authority (now the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.).

In her present capacity as an independent consultant, she is working in concert with agencies from several destinations to establish a regional cruise marketing partnership. The aims of this partnership are to continue to position the Caribbean in targeted world markets, enhance the competitiveness of the individual destinations and respond strategically and creatively to increasing levels of global competition.

A certified chocolate lover, Julie-Anne also holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Surrey.


CEO and Senior Managing Partner
The Cypress Group

Break-out session
MICE market: A potential yet untapped market?

As a builder of strong companies and leaders, a business consultant, coach, trainer, lecturer, facilitator, and over 40 years of business experience, Doyle J. Girouard, CEO and Senior Managing Partner of The Cypress Group, has coached numerous CEO's, business owners, and managers on the integration of strategy, people, and processes which leads to business transformation and performance improvement. He has assisted clients achieve sustainable strategic competitive advantage by intersecting strategy and organizational behavior. Read more »

Before founding The Cypress Group, Mr. Girouard had a dynamic twenty-eight year management career, with a Fortune 500 company, leading organizations through the critical stages of start-up, turnaround, crisis management, and high growth. Since 1996, he has worked extensively in the Travel Industry, working with hoteliers, incentive houses, and destination management companies. As a member of SITE and ADME, he has been a keynote speaker for numerous SITE Chapters and ADME conferences.

Having managed corporate buyers and planners he maintains a 360° global understanding of the issues confronting corporations seeking improved performance. He possesses a keen awareness of Travel Industry trends and issues, as well as best practices/processes which has assisted his clients improve profitability and productivity through increased efficiency and effectiveness.

He has also led the design, development, and delivery of customer executive education and training programs focused on informing senior executives of Fortune 500 companies on attaining strategic competitive advantage.

In addition to attending the University of Southern Mississippi, majoring in Political Science/Pre Law, Mr. Girouard also attended Northwestern University's, J.L. Kellogg School of Management and is a graduate of the Executive Development Program and the Advanced International Executive Management Program.


CEO at Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange

Break-out session
Vast Opportunities in Tourism stimulate lucrative and profitable investment possibilities

Over 34 years of experience in the international financial services industry. He had the opportunity to work with and for the reputable and longstanding international financial services providers, i.e. the Citco Group of Companies. During his 28 years at Citco Mr. Römer had the privilege to occupy several managerial positions in several jurisdictions and in both the Fiduciary Services and the Banking services areas. These managerial positions have allowed him to gather a broad experience in the operational, financial and marketing aspects of the financial services industry as a whole. As of 2012 Mr. Römer is the CEO of the DCSX, serves on the Board of the Curaçao Development Institute as President of the Board and as Managing Director of two international banks operating in Curaçao.


Director of the sector Economic Development and Innovation

Break-out session
Curaçao Tourism Law

As the director of the sector Economic Development and Innovation at the Ministry of Economic Development of Curaçao, Ms. Zulaika Mook MSc., is since 2011 in charge of implementing different economic policies, strengthening the overall economic infrastructure and stimulating the development of different spearhead sectors of the economy of Curaçao, both traditional sectors such as Tourism and the Logistics sectors as well as new sectors such as the Transnational Education and the Creative Industry which currently focused on the development of the Film Industry. Both sectors has a strong link with Tourism in terms of attracting educational tourists, creating awareness towards Curaçao as a destination and the development of new cross sectoral niches within Tourism.

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Keynote presentation
The Future of Urban Sustainability and Smart Cities

Franklin Sluis is currently the CEO of Bureau Telecommunication and Post Curaçao. Franklin is a Senior Quality Registered Accountant and member of the Netherlands association of Accountants and also a founding member of PURC Academia of the University of Florida. Franklin has a wide range of experience in the Government departments and Government owned entities. With his background as a Certified Auditor he has also conducted a research on the economic impact of the liberalization of the fixed telecom infrastructure of the Netherlands Antilles which was benchmarked with the region. Based on this research the fixed infrastructure of the Netherlands Antilles was liberalized. Franklin is a firm believer in a single infrastructure in the Curaçao market. He believes that this will bring humongous synergetic benefit for all stakeholders as a whole and the end consumer in particular. He firmly believes that Curaçao can become a digital hub for the region.


Owner of Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
Palm Beach, Florida

Keynote presentation
Values: the secret ingredient for developing an award-winning hospitality brand.

Simon is an actively involved, hands-on business director, always in the midst of exciting new projects. Simon’s area of expertise is in global hospitality for LFH, the private family business behind River Island and a global real estate portfolio. Yet his key area of responsibility is in directing and consulting the creative people around him, sharing their success of failures by being a valuable critic of process in the commercial machine. Read more »

Regularly challenging employees and colleagues beyond their normal comfort zones, Simon uses his relaxed manner to constantly stretch their knowledge, understanding and skills to boost performance and achievements. He combines 25 years experience in brand values, destination marketing and sales strategies associated with the travel, tourism and hospitality industries to develop creative solutions which achieve consistently measurable often award-winning results.

In 2007 Simon Simon conceived, developed and opened a multi-award winning luxury Spa business in the US. In 2013 he was instrumental in creating and implementing a new cultural identity for one of the Group's flagship hotel properties, the 5 star Eau Palm Beach Resort in Florida. Here his work encompasses the complete values set which underpins the core identity of the business from guest touchpoint to employee engagement.

Keynote presentation
Values: the secret ingredient for developing an award-winning hospitality brand.

Eau Palm Beach is a 5 star, 5 diamond resort that went through a massive hospitality rebranding exercise. In Simon's presentation he will discuss how they went from total unknown to one of the top 8 independent hotels in the continental US in under 2 years.


Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer,
Catch New York

Keynote presentation
The journey to Curaçao’s new brand positioning
Break-out session
Customer Journey: Understanding our customer through qualitative research

Doug is a creative and strategic guy whose time has been spent absorbing knowledge both at agencies and on the client-side, and his work has primarily focused on the world of sports, hospitality and travel, entertainment, youth, and retail and sponsorship marketing.

Chris Castro, LEED GA, CPB

Director of Sustainability, Smart Cities, Mayor Dyer's Office of Sustainability
City of Orlando

Luncheon Presentation
The Future of Urban Sustainability and Smart Cities

Chris Castro is an award winning sustainability professional, eco-entrepreneur, and community organizer with a passion for accelerating the transition to a smart, resilient and sustainable future. Chris is most notably known for his work as the founder and president of IDEAS For Us, an international nonprofit and United Nations accredited organization working to develop, fund, and scale environmental solutions around the World; and co-creator of the renowned ‘Fleet Farming’ urban agriculture program that started in Orlando. Read more »

Among some of his recognition, Chris has been called the 'Guru of Green' by the Orlando Business Journal, selected as a GreenBiz '30 Under 30' sustainability professional in the U.S., and recognized as a 'Grist 50 Fixer', one of the top 50 emerging sustainability leaders around the World.
Chris is currently the Director of Sustainability and Co-chair of the Smart Cities initiative for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the City of Orlando. In his role at the City, he works to develop cross-sector partnerships, policies, and programs that support the sustainability, energy, and climate-related goals of the "Green Works Orlando" and "Smart Cities" initiatives.

Over the last 10 years, Chris has consulted for governments, academia, business chambers, companies, nonprofits and communities to implement sustainability projects that include a wide variety of topics, specifically smart cities, solar energy development, building efficiency, electric vehicles, local food systems, water quality, ecological restorations and more.

In 2012, Chris co-founded a clean energy consulting and development firm called Citizen Energy, specializing in custom clean energy solutions for small and mid-sized commercial and multifamily buildings in Florida and the Greater Washington DC-area. Chris also sits on several nonprofit boards, including the US Green Building Council of Florida (USGBC-FL), Florida Green Chamber of Commerce (FGCC), Florida Renewable Energy Association (FREA), FL Solar United Neighborhoods (FL SUN), and the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers Community. Chris also recently joined the Advisory Board for the Orlando Science Center, University of Central Florida's clean energy research institute known as the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), and the Valencia College’s Engineering and Computer Science department.

Chris holds a B.S. Environmental Science and Policy with a minor in Energy & Sustainability from the University of Central Florida, and has several technical certifications including LEED accreditation


Senior Advisor Strategy, Development & Planning at Curaçao Tourist Board

Break-out session
The need for Connecting Visitors to the Curaçao Experience

Dr. Dino Daal is currently employed as Senior Advisor in the newly instituted (since 2011) Department, i.e. 'Strategy Development & Planning Unit' at Curaçao Tourist Board (CTB). Responsible for overall strategic policy development and planning and for development and implementation of programs and projects in the field of sustainable tourism and marketing.

He was promoted in 2007 as Director Product Development and Cruise Tourism, after being employed for more than 16 years as Product Development & Cruise Tourism Manager at CTB. He was responsible for strategic product development to provide a sustainable development of the tourism product. Read more »

As Vice Chairman of the Curaçao Cruise Action Group (CCAG), along with the cruise marketing partners, prepared and successfully implemented the Strategic Cruise Marketing Plan for cruise tourism development of the island. Passenger arrivals increased robustly during an eight year period from 170.000 (1993) to about 319.000 (2002).

Completed his Bachelor's degree in Business Administration (BBA/84) at the faculty of Social and Economic Sciences (SEF) of the University of the Netherlands Antilles (UNA), and a Master of Science (M.S./87) degree in Marketing and Broadcast Economics at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.. Concluded his Doctor in Business Administration at Inter Continental University of Curaçao (ICUC) with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VuA). April 2017.

  • Part-time visiting lecturer for junior- and senior year students at the University of Curaçao, department of Economic and Social Sciences (SEF) for more than 20 years.
  • Senior lecturer at the Hospitality department of the ICUC for the past 6 years.
  • Visiting lecturer University of Sint Maarten.
  • Served as a member of the board of several semi-government and private (non-profit) entities.

He was engaged as speaker in different seminars, conferences, lecture and breakfast series on a variety of subjects, namely experiential marketing, sustainable tourism development, quality assurance, festival tourism, E-business in the hospitality industry, tourism safety and security, scan of the tourism labor market and tourism infrastructure.


Marketing Officer at SPIN Internet Media

Break-out session
Digital Marketing

Cindy is the Marketing Officer at SPIN Internet Media. She first started off in the sales department, but quickly realized that Digital Marketing and Marketing in general is where her interest really lies.

At SPIN Internet Media her responsibilities involve managing marketing activities for several different clients. She is constantly creating content, monitoring ongoing campaigns, publishing new campaigns, analyzing performance, making adjustments and keeping in touch with the clients to make sure that everything is going according to plan. Read more »

Because Digital Marketing is something that is constantly changing, Cindy regularly schedules time to educate herself on the different platforms available for marketing. She also focuses attention on upcoming changes in technology, trends and viewer interests. This way, she and the rest of the SPIN team can be prepared to advise clients on the proper approach to their Digital Marketing Strategy.


Owner/director at Caribbean Projects

Break-out session
Human Capital Development: The urgency of manpower planning

Caribbean Projects offers customized services to organizations and projects that temporarily need support. For example this can be the translation of a need for knowledge to a concrete training program or writing a business- or annual plan. Caribbean Projects develops, realizes and coaches. Read more »

The focus is not on the activities themselves but the desired impact. Founder Gofrie van Lieshout has over 25 years experience as a project manager in both the Netherlands and Curaçao. Characteristic is the goal-oriented approach. By translating policy and plans to realistic activities like manpower-planning and procesmanagement. empowering people.

The context of all activities is employment, empowering people and personal development.