As part of the TNE policy, Curaçao aims to link economic sectors to TNE institutions. This should result in cross pollination and knowledge transfer which benefits the students by providing real-life examples and the sector by facilitating research and innovation. Currently, Curaçao focuses on actively bringing in institutions in the creative and metallurgical sector, while other institutions always remain welcome.
The creative sector of Curaçao currently has a limited macroeconomic contribution, but has a high potential. Curacao’s real strengths is its rich cultural heritage which gives it the potential to really stand out as a distinctive destination in the Caribbean. Over the past decades a strong cultural infrastructure and network has developed, using its UNESCO recognition as a World Heritage Site, museums, galleries, publications, research, international conferences, international festivals, private galleries, and local attractions like Kas di Kultura, Museo Tula and Carnival. Furthermore, Curaçao artists participate regularly in international art events.
Performing arts represent considerable income potential for the Caribbean region and its cultural dynamism. For this to happen, the attractions need to be fully integrated with the surroundings as well as with national interpretative and promotional strategies. Cultural tourists are an attractive market segment, tending to be mid to upper income earners, good spenders, well educated, frequent travellers, and mostly independent tourists. Festivals are an effective means to bolster cultural confidence and regional integration, and represent considerable income generation and cross linking to other sectors of the economy. They are effective for destination branding and cultural industry development. Caribbean festivals make a significant impact on the regional tourism sector in terms of creating a new tourism season and/or filling the void in the tourism calendar by boosting airlifts and improving hotel occupancy levels.
Historically, Curaçao has a large industrial sector, in part due to its deep natural harbour. The maritime sector, focussing on ship repair and ship building, has emerged as a spin-off of the international trade Curaçao was involved in. In 1914 Royal Dutch/Shell started with the construction of a refinery at the Schottegat. In 1986 the refinery was sold to the island government and leased to Venezuela based PdVSA. This lease was extended once, but will expire in 2019.
The share of this sector in the economy of the island has decreased over the years and the sector is facing some challenges. However, the government recognises the importance of the sector, especially in the field of jobs and the influx of foreign currency. This is the reason the government is looking for a strategic partner for both the refinery and the dry dock company.