The Aruban Tourism industry continues to make such bold and positive claims, yet where are the posted tourism numbers since the summer? It’s not just Americans that are asking such questions, its Aruban politicians as well. From Travel Weekly comes the following:
“Despite the publicity surrounding the tragic disappearance of Natalee Holloway and the events that have followed, 2005 was a successful year for Aruba in terms of visitor figures and the launch of new projects on the island. Not all figures are in yet, but we recorded an overall growth of 3% from the U.S. market through October.”
Echoing that sentiment was Edison Briesen, minister of tourism, who addressed the media at the recent Caribbean Marketplace in San Juan. Briesen outlined several projects in the works on the island:
- The development of a second tourism corridor at Baby Beach on the eastern end of Aruba;
- A $60 million expansion plan at Queen Beatrix International Airport and an expansion of the cruise ship terminal;
- An upgrade and renovation project in downtown Oranjestad;
- The launch of a tourism-training program for locals called The Promise;
- More than $150 million in various hotel renovations;
- The continuation of Aruba’s successful ACE (Aruba Certified Expert) program for agents.
- (But no money for this?)
Steve Cohen, Aruba government consultant, continues to make bold comments such as the suspects being interrogated within the next 10 days that turns out to be, “we all misjudged the process“. Also it is rather curious seeing that Steve Cohen went on the Dr Phil Show and told Beth Holloway that Aruba was sorry for the roller coaster of events and would not announce time lines any more for investigations. What would one call the following comment from Steve Cohen?
Cohen, senior consultant with the Strategic Message Design Group in Los Angeles and a former journalist and broadcaster, predicted an “important” break on the Holloway case within the next six months, based on accelerated search efforts for forensic DNA evidence and the willingness of Aruban locals to come forward and speak with officials “now that the worldwide media, for the most part, are leaving us alone,” he said.
“We also are able to finally talk to some of the Alabama teens who left on that plane and did not wait around for interrogation,” said Cohen.
It is simply amazing that Aruba proposes all these marketing ploys, gimmicks and money give-aways as some way to promote tourism, yet they continue to anger Americans by saying that the Alabama teens did not wait wrong for the interrogation. That is shameful. It is too bad that the Arubans did not take this case serious enough in the beginning. Aruba, that wants tourists to come to their island, is blaming tourists tourists leaving Aruba during an investigation rather than your own ALE not insisting they stay and answer questions? Amazing. Even though most all of them have answered questions regarding the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.
The lack of common sense and understanding from Aruba and Steve Cohen can best be summed up in the following comments. The small mindedness and complete misunderstanding of why Americans make it a personal decision to not visit Aruba vs. a boycott called for by certain states.
He said that the call for a boycott of Aruba by the governors of Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia has had no effect on the investigation or on tourism to the island, a statement supported by Briesen, who said, “the U.S. South is one of our smaller markets.”
If this is the case, publish your tourism numbers. Aruban tourism has declined while the rest of the tourism in the Caribbean has increased, not just because of a three state boycott. It has done so because many Americans in many of the 50 states have decided to go else where. Either because as a direct effect of how Aruba has handled the Natalee Holloway investigation or in part. If Aruba thinks that they can down play the event as “the U.S. South is one of our smaller markets”, you are insane. I can understand Aruban’s misunderstanding of the concept, but Steve Cohen? A paid American consultant not understanding why Aruba’s numbers are down and a proper what to fix them other than continuing to anger those that would potentially go to Aruba to vacation.
How simple a marketing plan could there possibly be? Sincerely, effectively and humanely investigate the crime of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. It is that simple. How does Aruba expect to move their tourism ahead without dealing with the Natalee Holloway investigation? One is tied into the other and cannot be separated.