For those that doubted the decline in tourism, Amigoe has posted some disturbing numbers for the Aruban Tourism board. Looking at the trends of the numbers it seems that Aruba not only has the Natalee Holloway issue to worry about, but some others as well. So many have stated that they were not worried about the three southern states (AL, AR, GA) that entered into a volunteer boycott by their governors. However, one look at the New York state trends must have sent shock waves through the ATA and Hotel Association.
The majority of the American tourists come from this state (NY), about 17 percent of the total. In relation to 2003, 2004 had a growth of 13.47 percent, which dropped to 9.1 percent in the first quarter of 2005. At the end of June, the growth was just 3.19 percent and at the end of October the growth was negative 3.07 percent.
This may be a case of dealing with the Natalee Holloway disappearance but also other extenuating circumstances. There has been the attitude by many on Aruba that the Natalee Holloway fascination would eventually just go away. Personally, I think they are misguided as it has staying power like no other case, namely because of individuals outrage. That being said, Aruba may have another issue that they never planned on that may be affecting their tourism as well. That being that tourists are finding other places to go that appeal to them more, have nice beaches and are the new en vogue places to go.
No one can say that these declines are entirely based upon the circumstances that surround the disappearance of Natalee Holloway; however, no one can say also that it is not a contributing factor. In any case, Aruba has a problem and as the article states, “The government’s critics were right.”
Although the beaches are still full with sunbathing tourists, last year’s totals up till October were hardly greater than those of the year before. (Dutch translation)
ARUBA – The government’s critics were right. They predicted a downward trend and ATA’s tourism figures over the months of August up till October 2005 confirm this. The growth in the total number of tourists visiting Aruba in the first half of 2005 was 8 percent, while by the end of October it dropped to 2.15 percent in relation to the year before.
We cannot say that the decrease was caused by the Holloway-case, because the number of American tourists dropped with about the same numbers of foreign visitors. The figures by state differ from each other. Alabama, the state where the disappeared girl is from, scored significantly lower than other American states. Also after the first quarter of 2005, by that time Holloway had not even visited Aruba yet, this state was already red in the statistics.
More worrisome are the figures from the state New York. The majority of the American tourists come from this state, about 17 percent of the total. In relation to 2003, 2004 had a growth of 13.47 percent, which dropped to 9.1 percent in the first quarter of 2005. At the end of June, the growth was just 3.19 percent and at the end of October the growth was negative 3.07 percent.
The figures over the entire 2004 for two other important states, Massachusetts and Illinois, are respectively 15.68 percent more than in 2003 and 10.19 percent more than in 2003 and for the first ten months of 2005, 15.74 and 14.68 percent more than same months in 2004.