The overall stayover arrivals in May are positive, recording 7% growth, reported the Curacao Tourist Board (CTB). A total of 31,251 stayover arrivals were welcomed in May where last year 29,196 stayover arrivals were counted. Curacao welcomed a total of 13,844 stayover visitors from the Netherlands, the main producing country closed May with double-digit growth of 14%. It is the first time in history that the country has surpassed 13,000 visitors from Holland in May. The Netherlands continues to be the leading country where 44% of the from stayover arrivals is originating. The second main country in Europe is Germany. This year with no direct service from Germany 1,361 German visitors were registered, a 9% decrease in stayover arrivals. Overall, the European region grew by 12% in May 2018. A total of 16,675 stayover visitors were recorded.
CTB registered a total of 7,012 stayover visitors from North America in May 2018, ranking North America the second biggest contributor in visitor arrivals. Curacao welcomed a total of 1,089 stayover visitors from Canada. The prolongation of the WestJet flights in May resulted in 66% more Canadian visitors than May 2017. From the United States of America, an increase of 14% is registered in May 2018. In total, 5,923 stayover visitors were registered. Last year, Curacao recorded 5,186 stayover arrivals from the USA. The positive figures out of the USA are the effect of the second weekly flight out of Charlotte and the up-gauge of equipment with American Airlines from Miami.
Both secondary focus countries from South America performed very well recording double-digit growth. From Colombia, the island nation registered an increase of 11% to a total of 1,114 stayover visitors. The increase in stayover arrivals is the result of marketing efforts. Traffic from Brazil recorded growth of 24% in May 2018. In total, 755 Brazilians were welcomed. A total of 1,799 Caribbean visitors were welcomed in May 2018. From neighbor island Aruba, a growth of 4% was registered. A total of 977 Aruban visitors traveled to Curacao in May.
During the first 5 months of 2018, a total of 74,371 Dutch visitors were welcomed. Last year in the same period, 67,560 Dutch visitors were counted, an increase of 10%. From the United States of America, the year-to-date growth was recorded at 11%, counting a total of 29,249 US visitors from January through May 2018. In 2017, Curacao welcomed 26,395 stayover arrivals from the USA. Canada grew by recording 7% visitors, counting a total of 12,837 stayover arrivals in the first 5 months of 2018.
The overall stayover arrivals in the first 5 months remained flat compared to last year. Curacao welcomed in total 173,984 stayover visitors in the first 5 months of 2018. If the tourism count for Venezuela is taken out of the total stayover arrivals, it would have registered a 6% growth. This is a total of 10,404 more visitors. The year-to-date stayover arrivals also shows a strong growth out of the focus markets. A direct impact of $262.5 million US dollars was generated for the local economy in the first 5 months of 2018. 47% of the total direct impact is generated from European visitors who are responsible for $123.1 million US dollars. The direct economic impact from the remainder regions is as following: North America $692 million, South America $37.2 million, and Caribbean/other regions $33 million.