Amigoe: Ahata and Dumfries (MEP) fight over room tax


The the friction in Aruba keeps getting worse and worse. Now they are battling over who is to get the reduced tax dollars for their use. The AHATA, Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association wants to  use 3% of the proceeds from room tax without it being disbursed to the Aruban government first.

All these issues caused because the could not take the investigation of an American teenager seriously. Now they must pay the piper.

ARUBA — Aruba Hotel And Tourism Association (Ahata) regrets the statements of parliamentarian Dirk Dumfries (MEP) about the room tax.  According to Dumfries, Ahata is planning to take the proceeds of the room tax away from the government.  Ahata denies this in a press release.  “All we want to do is manage part of the room tax, not take it away.” 

According to Dumfries, hotel guests pay 7 percent room tax, and Ahata says that the room tax percentage is 6.  This room tax goes into the treasury.  Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) promotes Aruba abroad and the government finances ATA’s work. 

Ahata as well as ATA are trying to boost up Aruba’s image gains, after it was affected by the negative publicity around the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.  And we have to do this, says Ahata, because the number of tourists has dropped.  Such marketing campaign cost about 12 million dollars and ATA’s budget is 4.5 million dollars max. 

During a consultation with Tourism-minister Edison Briesen, Ahata suggested to manage 3 percent of the room tax, so that the marketing money can be available sooner that when the government has to decide on this first.  Ahata said that it wants to manage the money, but that Briesen will be responsible for the spending of the budget. 

Dumfries was present during this consultation and was positive about the plan. Therefore, Ahata does not understand why Dumfries call the plan a devil’s plan now and thinks that Ahata wants to take money away from the government.

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