Tourists from around the world recently flocked to the shores of Piscadera Bay to experience the third annual Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival – one of the island’s biggest events. To determine the success of the Festival, researchers from the Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida conducted an economic impact study and assessed visitors’ satisfaction of the event.

“The hospitality industry is currently by far the most important pillar of our local economy,” said Gregory E. Elias, founder, organizer and sole financial sponsor of the Festival. “Event tourism is picking up speed and is now the most important addition to enhancing our hospitality sector. That is why it’s important to assess and improve this service.”

According to the study, event organizers invested $5.6 million in the 2012 Festival, which was 14% more than in 2011. The 2012 festival churned out nearly $20 million in the local economy, exceeding last year’s festival by more than 20%.

The average tourist, whose main purpose to visit Curacao was attending the Festival, spent an unprecedented $299 per day, which is equivalent to $1,854 per trip. A total of 5,312 tourists attended the 2012 Festival, an increase of nearly 8% from 2011.

“The Festival has been a spectacular success for the island, attracting crowds of visitors during the two days of the Festival and enhancing the destination’s image,” said Dr. Robertico Croes, associate director of the Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies. “Due to the Festival, a significant amount of promotion was provided to the island of Curacao, the image of Curacao has become more positive and stronger, and the economic impact of the Festival has been momentous.”

Over the past three years, the Festival has attracted 12,542 tourists, generated nearly $22 million in direct spending, and helped contribute nearly $40 million to the Curacao economy.

Satisfaction and quality level have improved significantly since 2010, indicating that the Festival has been able to continuously exceed attendees’ expectations. Additionally, the experience gathered at the Festival is becoming more memorable, and the value perception of attendees has increased significantly over the past three years. High levels of memorable enjoyment and socialization indicate why more Festival attendees return to Curacao annually to enjoy the Festival.

Since 1979, the Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies has been conducting proprietary and public domain research, promulgating information to the public at large about the contributions of the hospitality and tourism industry, especially along economic, sociological, environmental, and quality-of-life dimensions, and carrying out credit and non-credit educational activities.

Research has been conducted in countries, such as Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, China, Aruba, Ecuador, South Africa and South Korea for destination management organizations, convention and visitor bureaus, hotels, hospitals, vacation homes, restaurants, theme parks and more.