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The Reality of Bed and Breakfasts in Curacao: A Survival Strategy, Not a Get-Rich Scheme

The Reality of Bed and Breakfasts in Curacao: A Survival Strategy, Not a Get-Rich Scheme

 

March 19, 2024

 

In the midst of global transition accelerated by the pandemic, Curaçao, as a Caribbean Small Island Developing State, has witnessed a remarkable economic resurgence, primarily driven by tourism. In 2023, the island experienced an unprecedented influx of tourists, marking a significant milestone with nearly 600,000 stayover visitors. However, amidst the celebration of these tourism records, crucial questions emerge.


Many tourists opt for accommodations beyond traditional hotels, choosing instead to stay in various alternative facilities. While the government rightly focuses on improving tax compliance within these establishments, it's essential to recognize the diverse nature of these accommodations.


Contrary to popular belief, not all of these alternative lodgings are large-scale businesses with multiple apartments for rent. A substantial portion comprises individuals renting out spare rooms or houses—a survival tactic for those who lost their livelihoods during the pandemic or due to governmental and business policy failures, such as refinery closures or the collapse of national enterprises such as airlines and banks.


Starting a bed and breakfast operation isn't always a means to accumulate wealth; for many, it's a pragmatic approach to weathering economic storms and striving for stability. While these operators understand the necessity of tax contributions, the government must consider their circumstances.

It's crucial to acknowledge that people are less inclined to fulfill their tax obligations when essential services, like road maintenance, are neglected, and public officials engage in extravagant travel expenditures. For many, running a bed and breakfast isn't about luxury; it's about survival and striving towards a more secure future.


In essence, the narrative surrounding bed and breakfast operations in Curaçao must shift from viewing them solely as profit-driven ventures to recognizing them as strategies for resilience and perseverance in the face of economic uncertainty. Only by understanding this perspective can policymakers develop fair and effective regulations supporting economic growth and individual livelihoods.


Miguel Goede

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