Boycott Not Having an Effect on Aruba? Nor is Natalee? … Better Check the Numbers (Arrivals drop by 13%)
An article in Amigoe states that Aruba’s cruise ship industry is up 88.06 percent in the past 10 years. They also state that the tourism numbers are up for January 2006 5.6%, an increase of 3686 visitors.
According to Kathleen Rojer of Aruba Cruise Tourism, the cruise tourism will grow even more. In January of 2006, the cruise tourism grew with 5.6 percent to 69.393 passengers compared to same month in 2005, which had 65.707 visitors.
However, before Aruba gets too gleeful they may want to check out the rest of the tourism numbers. Namely the ones from the Reina Beatrix Airport where the majority of the tourism comes in to Aruba. The tourism numbers were down for the last part of 2005.
Previous year came 1.7 million passengers from foreign countries to Aruba. According to Steinmetz it is now already certain that this number in 2005, is not obtained.
Now comes the shocking numbers for 2006 from Steinmetz, manager of Aruba Airport Authority from Aruba Bon Dia.
Forecast becomes a reality at the airport … Quantity of passenger arrivals drops by 13% for first two months of 2006 … Airport director is very disappointed with the results! (Getagrip)
ORANJESTAD – The first two months of the year 2006 are not going too well for the airport. This is in terms of the quantity of passengers that arrive to our island. And the numbers confirm the worries of the airport manager Peter Steinmetz who points to the numbers being in the negative double digits. ‘January and February are disappointing’ Steinmetz said.
The first 6 months of last years, things were going very well compared to the previous year, but after a series of negative news started there was a drop in passengers. Now there is talk of negative growth of passengers. ‘This is disappointing for sure’, Steinmetz continued to say. And things don’t look much better. But at this time it is difficult to estimate how things will go. ‘We have an indication that the month of March will be a little better’, Steinmetz said, but he cannot say with certainty what this means. (Bon Dia)
One must also keep in mind this is the high season in Aruba. Negative numbers in the high season are a much more drastic situation than if they occurred during the summer months. Also, when compared with the slight increase of cruise ship passengers and differing circumstances of a cruise ship vs. airline tourist to Aruba; the numbers are catastrophic. Cruise ship passengers are only in Aruba for maybe a day at most. They do not need to purchase hotel rooms, nor many of the extras if they just want to stay with their package cruise ship amenities. Air travel passengers is a much different situation.
ARUBA TOURISM TABLES (2001 – 2005) (Page 14) (Corrected)
- January 57,266
- February 61,560
- January 66,040
- February 62,640
A 13% decrease in the first two months of 2006. You do the math. All of the dramatic decreases in tourism while so many on Aruba were claiming that there was an 8% increase last year during the height of the Natalee Holloway disappearance. A claim that many knew to be false. For all of the people who thought and made the claims that this was just about a three state boycott and it failed could never have been so wrong. For those who thought Americans would not care about the developing situation and lack of any urgency in Aruba to solve the Natalee Holloway case; you could never have misinterpreted the facts more.
Steinmetz suggests a couple of ways to remedy the situation. One of which looks like to lower hotel prices were increased into the teeth of a down turn in tourism last year.
According to the airport director, everything depends on two things. The publicity that Aruba will conduct to rectify its image after the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, and the other issue is the increase in the hotel rates, that from last year is also a fact. He considers that hotel rates were increased too much.
‘I am confident that AHATA knows what’s happening and that they know what they have to do about it’, Steinmetz said.