A case study of the creative zone Scharloo and Pietermaai in Curaçao

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of the development of a "Creative Zone" in the area of Scharloo and Pietermaai, two integral parts of Willemstad, UNESCO World Heritage Site (Curaçao), to gain insight into the dynamics and possibilities of the zone. This paper also serves to develop the concept of a creative zone with different stakeholders ‐ including government ‐ by creating synergy and momentum, giving the project or process a life of its own. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The project of creating a creative zone is based on a theoretical framework used to assess the factors that create a creative zone. Using the framework, an assessment of the Scharloo and Pietermaai zone is made to frame discussion of the further development of the zone. Findings ‐ The area Scharloo and Pietermaai in Curaçao has all the ingredients to become a creative zone, especially in the context of further enhancing Curaçao's tourist product. This is the case for traditional tourists, but is also true for a large group of foreign students who serve their apprenticeship on the island. However, necessary efforts must be made ‐ especially by the creative industries in the zone ‐ to establish a forum, leadership and a network to develop the creative zone. The participation of the government has to be acknowledged, taking into consideration the role that government plays in creating the right conditions, for example by improving the infrastructure. Finally, there must be a mutual effort to assess and sustain the creative process on the part of all stakeholders. An important finding is that a part of the zone could be denominated by creative industry, because so many tour operators organize visits to the Scharloo area as a showcase for cultural heritage. The visitors can experience, taste and feel this creativity. Originality/value ‐ The paper contributes to a framework for analyzing the creative economy of Caribbean Small Islands Developing States and how continuous improvement can be achieved to create more added value in the economy.
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