Amigoe; December 30, 2005: Uncertainty about tourism figures
Uncertainty about tourism figures
ARUBA Ã¢â‚¬” It is not clear whether the tourism is affected by the Natalee Holloway case. Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) has not announced yet how many tourists had visited Aruba between July and September. The October figures show a drop. “Very bad, Aruba’s economy depends on the tourism. We must know what the situation is”, is the opinion of the AVP.
It is incomprehensible that the tourism-minister Edison Briesen does not realize that something is wrong. The AVP is concerned about the tourism. It is irresponsible not to know whether there is a Holloway-effect. AVP wants a meeting with the taskforce, the parliament, and the minister in early 2006 to talk about a marketing plan. Recently, the Central Bank of Aruba and the Aruba Airport Authority (AAA) reported alarming figures about the tourism. According to the Bank, the cruise passengers have dropped with almost 40 percent in October of this year. The hotel occupancy was almost 78 percent in October. The Bank couldn’t give the results in the months July up till September, because they depend on the data from ATA that were not available. Also compared to last year, the airport of Aruba registered fewer passengers that entered Aruba. According to AAA-director Peter Steinmetz, the 2004 amount of passengers (1.7 millions) is not feasible in 2005. His opinion is that this has directly to do with the disappeared American teenager, Natalee Holloway.
In all reality who could have honestly looked at this situation and not seen this coming? The more and more that Aruban officials gave the outright appearance of preferential treatment, questionable investigations and lack of searches of suspects homes; this was inevitable. There was a reason why the Natalee Holloway disappearance was one of the Top 10 news stories of 2005 in the media and on the internet. The misconception is that the media drove this story. It was the public interest in the story that drove the media to cover the story.
I guess Aruba decided to take the AP as the gospel as this article was posted at Aruba the Truth, Associated Press: Boycott Will Have No Impact.
Gov. Bob Riley’s call for a tourist boycott of Aruba, where a Mississippi native has been missing since May 30, had little or no immediate impact and is unlikely to deter trips to the Caribbean island, travel experts said.
“We really have not seen a significant change in interest in travel to Aruba,” said Justin McNaull, AAA Travel spokesman.
One wonders whether some one would like to take back the comments at this point?
But those who research boycotts say this one may be a futile effort.
“No, it won’t work. It’s pretty much like a warning,” said Usha Haley, professor of international business and director of the Global Business Center at the University of New Haven.
“Generally speaking, I doubt a boycott called for by the governor of one state would have significant impact on Aruba’s tourism,” said John Frendreis, a political science professor at Loyola University in Chicago.
Frendreis, who called Riley’s announcement “a symbolic gesture,” said it’s unlikely that one family’s tragedy would prompt political moves in other states.