2006 Another Bad Tourism Year for Aruba … Just When one Thought It Could Not Get Lower


Following the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in May 2005, the remainder of Aruba Tour for Dum2005 and into 2006 showed a sharp decline in tourism. 2005 saw sharp decreases in the tourism numbers in Aruba as compared to 2004. It is hard to believe that the 2006 Aruban tourism numbers shrank even more.

Does Aruba really want to exchange “stay over visitors” for “cruise ship passengers”? Obviously those that stay on the island will spend more money than a tourist on a cruise ship. Of course one can only speculate as to how Aruba is counting cruise ship passengers these days. Are they those that come to port aboard a ship or those that disembark? Anyway you cut it, 2006 was another down year for tourism in Aruba while the rest of the Caribbean saw increases.

What new PR nightmare awaits Aruba in 2007? It’s been a far cry from “the Natalee Holloway” situation going away in four days.  The two year window for the three suspects in on the horizon. What message will Aruba send to the world as to how they deal with crime against tourists? I am sure there will be other surprises to come that Aruba will have to deal with and save face.

In the first eleven months of 2006, stay-over visitors and total nights spent on the island shrank cumulatively by 6.8 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively. In November 2006, the number of stay-over visitors and their nights spent on the island went up by 4.4 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, compared to the corresponding month in 2005. Data on the occupancy rate indicate a decrease of 2.9 percentage points to 76.6 percent in November 2006, compared to a year earlier.

However, a 1.3 percentage points increase was recorded in December 2006, compared to December 2005, bringing the occupancy rate for that month to 75.7 percent. The average occupancy rate for the year 2006, compared to 2005, fell by 4.6 percentage points to 77.1 percent. The number of cruise passenger arrivals and ship calls rose by, respectively, 2.4 percent and 27.5 percent in December 2006. For 2006 as a whole, the number of cruise passengers grew by 7.0 percent to 591,474, the highest number ever recorded. (Aruba Central Bank)

If you liked this post, you may also like these:

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  • CENTRALE BANK VAN ARUBA: Summary of the monthly bulletin of the Centrale Bank van Aruba
  • Misery Index Continues in Aruba as Tourism Numbers Fall for Feb & March 2006

  • Comments

    54 Responses to “2006 Another Bad Tourism Year for Aruba … Just When one Thought It Could Not Get Lower”

    1. joe bear on February 20th, 2007 4:56 pm

      And who is suprised.Lets see :Rape,murder,dengue fever,TB,pollution,and what else.

    2. minnesota dad on February 20th, 2007 5:52 pm

      Occupancy rates mean nothing when you are giving away trips for free. md

    3. katablog on February 20th, 2007 6:00 pm

      Well see it’s like this: there was a problem with “stay over” visitors. They end up “staying” but not paying (mainly because they are dead).

      So now Aruba has switched to another type of “captive” audience – cruise ship passengers. And yes, it doesn’t mean these people bother to get off the ship or even spend a dime if they do.

    4. dennisintn on February 20th, 2007 6:16 pm

      #l, and no way an american is going to receive a fair shake with the justice system. high risk of theft from rooms, and purses, date rape drugs prevalent, muggings, and don’t forget all those insurance scams we’re being blamed for committing on the vile isle.

    5. Scared Monkeys on February 20th, 2007 6:40 pm

      Notice how they don’t discuss the airport numbers anymore.


    6. Dayhiker on February 20th, 2007 6:57 pm

      They will blame the continued tourism decline in 2007 on JetBlue.

    7. dennisintn on February 20th, 2007 7:15 pm

      with the attitude arubans have expressed and demonstrated in the media and on the internet, i wouldn’t step off a cruise ship to walk my dog, if you know what i mean. the attempts of aruba officials and business people to demonize and denigrate an l8 yr. old girl who, at worst, trusted the wrong people, makes them unworthy of my trust or money, or sympathy. plus, i don’t want to be in their company, or the company of other americans who tolerate such actions.

    8. Allan K on February 20th, 2007 7:40 pm

      I agree with the above!

    9. mayan_moons on February 20th, 2007 9:00 pm

      A friend is going on a cruise soon & i asked if Aruba was a port of call, he said it was but assured me his party would NOT go on the island. Instead he said they plan to unfurl a huge flag saying “WHERE IS NATALEE HOLLOWAY ARUBA”

    10. mayan_moons on February 20th, 2007 9:03 pm

      There was LOTS of ideas what to say on the flag including F YOU ARUBA but i suggested keeping it about NATALEE coz thats ALL that matters!

    11. Miss-Underestimated on February 20th, 2007 9:31 pm

      Listen there are people who will go anywhere for free. What really needs to be shown in the economic growth. Meaning SHOW ME THE MONEY…

      I will bet Jet Blue will pull their flights to Aruba, because of the current state of affairs with JB, they will find that it is NOT profitable to fly to Aruba.

      When free trips to Aruba are handed out like candy on Halloween, I would think occupancy would go up.

      Besides I wonder if the occupancy is up in certain hotels because other hotels are being redone?

      Either way it is another spritz of perfume on the pig.

    12. Scared Monkeys on February 20th, 2007 9:33 pm

      Mayan … make sure they get pics of the flag in the port of call.

      Think that might be some FP material. ;)


    13. mayan_moons on February 20th, 2007 10:08 pm

      Will do Red! I love the idea!


      You’re On Notice Aruba……lots of people are thinking of very creative ways to shut you DOWN!

    14. mayan_moons on February 20th, 2007 10:19 pm

      Of course the tried and true boycott is still steam rolling you’re way Aruba. Any of you thinking we’re going away or easing up are foolish.

    15. Richard on February 20th, 2007 10:24 pm

      They can talk about the cruise ship numbers all they want to. But don’t forget … Carnival Cruises (I believe it was them) DROPPED ARUBA from their tours.

      Best news we ever heard from a cruise ship … which only goes to show, I guess, that the exception proves the rule.

      Now let’s do our part in New York this weekend (if anyone can show up to protest at the New York Times travel show, even though Aruba has only a very little to do there).

      And if anyone is free five weeks from now, join Observer and me, plus a few others, in speaking your mind in Boston, where Aruba is supposed to be a big player and a key sponsor.

      No justice for Natalee? No tourists for Aruba.

      Mayan Moons, try to persuade those friends of yours to take a photo of that demo on the cruise ship and get it to the HT family, plus the American Society of Travel Agents. We’ll see what they do once the fat is in the fire.

    16. mayan_moons on February 20th, 2007 10:50 pm

      Hey Richard!

      I can hear the SIZZLE now!


      It disappointments me that i can’t protest with ya’ll in NY & Boston coz i’m so far away.

    17. mayan_moons on February 20th, 2007 10:55 pm

      Is it possible to rent some of those Big Flashing Mobile Signs to place in area’s close or on the way to these planned events?

    18. mayan_moons on February 20th, 2007 11:03 pm

      Since billboards are so pricey i’ve wondered about the slashing sign for some time now.

    19. mayan_moons on February 20th, 2007 11:26 pm

      oops make that flashing instead of slashing

    20. JusticeforNatalee on February 21st, 2007 12:27 am

      travel show general info

    21. Scared Monkeys on February 21st, 2007 12:28 am

      Richard … Same hold true for you as well in going to the event in Boston. Take some pics … heck … roll video when you are “discussing” with the Travel show.

      Would love to hear and have all hear their responses to questions.


    22. yoyo muffintop on February 21st, 2007 1:16 am

      mayan – you say in #10:”There was LOTS of ideas what to say on the flag including F YOU ARUBA but i suggested keeping it about NATALEE coz thats ALL that matters!”, then you and post #13,15,16,17 which happen to be “f you aruba” posts. I thought it was only Natalee that matters? oh well…but good luck Richard and keep us in the loop along the way. should be interesting

    23. mayan_moons on February 21st, 2007 1:51 am

      Answer this yip yip, Does Natalee matter to you?

    24. mayan_moons on February 21st, 2007 1:55 am

      Your comment reminds me of when Jipshit quiped “Thats not how a parent acts when their daughter’s missing”

    25. mayan_moons on February 21st, 2007 1:59 am

      Just how much experience DOES Jurine have dealing with the parents of girls who go missing while in Jurine’s company?

    26. Elaine on February 21st, 2007 3:10 am

      Tourism is down, the facts prove it. Time share owners will proclaim otherwise, as they realize what a bad investment they have made. What American in their right mind would even consider buying a timeshare in Aruba. Americans are listening to this case, they have their eyes and ears open to the injustice that was done to Natalee. And it is not just America. The World is watching. Boycott Aruba, one crappy island. Let them and their little gang of well wishers say that tourism is not down, we know better. We will continue to watch it go down more., as we travel to Los Cabos Mexico, which is beautiful. And to St. Croix, and to travel even more around the United States. My sister is a para-legal. She belongs to a large group of para-legals that travel together every year. When they go and their spouses are included they number over 500 people. The group was considering Aruba. I asked my sister to let me go to the trip planning meeting with her. I talked about this case and about Natalee. A few people thought this case was taken to court. I corrected those people, by the end of the meeting, Aruba was not an option. Oppps, they just lost another 500 guests. They went to Los Cobos Mexico. They had a great time, the pictures were beautiful, the locals treated them very good. It made me feel good that I could let more Americans know that Aruba is an island you can disappear on, and never be seen. And that Justice most likely won’t be seen if you are rapped or Murdered, Robbed etc. It just is not safe there. Period!

    27. Richard on February 21st, 2007 6:33 am

      To paraphrase the song about John Brown’s body:

      “Our truth goes marching on.”

      I got some more enquiries overnight (thanks to Red and Tom for forwarding them) about the Boston plans.

      I don’t want to run on about it here, but just a brief recap. On March 23-25, the Boston Globe Travel Show is being held in Boston (that makes sense), and this is a big tourist market for Aruba. The Aruba Tourism Authority is a major participant in this show, unlike the one coming up this weekend in NYC.

      So some of us decided to show up and make clear that we remember Natalee, and that we’re not going to let Aruba or the rest of the world forget.

      We all have our own theories on what happened, and they can’t all be right, but that isn’t the issue here. The only point on which we ask all participants to agree on is:

      No justice for Natalee … no tourists for Aruba.

      Some people from here are signing up. I won’t give names; that’s for them to do. But one guy is knowledgeable about the T-shirt business, and is getting us price quotes.

      I haven’t gotten word back yet from the Boston police about rules for this sort of thing, but I think it’s absolutely necessary to have T-shirts with Natalee’s photo and whatever slogan we agree on. There is NO WAY that they can stop us from wearing these T-shirts, even if we can’t speak or chant, wave signs, etc.

      And, of course, Natalee’s photo is known worldwide and makes clear the point of the protest immediately.

      So this is the idea right now, I think. And one of the participants is planning on bringing a Web cam, which might be good.

      We all know that the Boston Globe is now owned by The New York Times, which is holding its own travel show this weekend. So whether we get any media coverage would be an interesting question …. But we’ll make our point regardless.

      And if anyone knows a travel agent who is going to the Boston event and who might be sympathetic to our cause, please urge them to get in contact. The first day of the three-day event is open only to the “travel trade”; we might stand outside the door, but can’t get in.

      If we could get an agent to wear a Natalee T-shirt inside, that would be terrific.

    28. Richard on February 21st, 2007 6:36 am

      Also, once we get the T-shirts printed up, I was thinking of sending out a few complimentary copies; e.g., to Nelson Oduber and the head honcho for Aruba at the Dutch Embassy in Washington. I’m sure they’d wear them with pride.

    29. dennisintn on February 21st, 2007 7:18 am

      #25, he has absolutely no experience with that. daddy sloot takes care of that for him. while anita cries and whines and tells the world what a great sporter he is.

    30. vicki on February 21st, 2007 8:51 am

      Elaine#26, I am so glad you were able to do this. I think thats how we can educate ppl about SATANS ISLAND. A person at a time. I was at A Birthday party and was asked about my bracelet. I caught everyones attention as I spoke about papasweat being with Natalee and how he and his son did unspeakable things to her. I was crying by the time I was done. Everyone agree that it was horrific and that they would never go to a country like aruba that would cover this up just for the tourist money.I made it clear about the ROBBERYS, MURDERS, SUICIDES[so called] and how the police turn their heads and walk away.

    31. Melissa on February 21st, 2007 9:09 am

      I recently flew on American Airlines and there was an ad for Aruba in the American Way magazine. I wrote across the ad: Boycott Aruba – Justice for Natalee Holloway.

    32. vicki on February 21st, 2007 11:08 am

      Richard, I am so excited about this. BFN says they have a few travel agents on their blog, maybe put in a word there. I will buy lots of Tshirts from you or the person making them….PLEASE let me know how. God bless you all for doing this. Im sure it will be a peaceful event and there is no reason why you cant walk around with signs…but the TSHIRTS are great. Let me know if anything like this comes to TAMPA.
      Mayan, I am looking into FLASHING SIGNS.

    33. vicki on February 21st, 2007 12:27 pm

      mayan, I googled flashing signs and they have quite a few…i dont think they will work though…google it and see. Let me know.

    34. Meee on February 21st, 2007 1:10 pm

      Richard you should try the Boston Herald. Maybe they would like to help you out.

    35. Richard on February 21st, 2007 1:23 pm

      Vicki, I am waiting to get some pricing info on the T-shirts. Once we do that, I’ll post it. Certainly it will be good if we can be assured of a reasonable minimum quantity … that helps with ordering, I guess. And the guy who is doing this, and knows his stuff, is emphatic in saying that the quality of the shirts is good.

      Printing the photo drives up the cost, I gather, but having Natalee’s photo on is absolutely indispensable. Even if we can’t have words or slogans, her photo alone will make clear what we want.

      Today I sent in the permit application to Boston.

      And I have another idea … should I send one of the T-shirts to PvdS? Along with a pointed comment that he deserves one, because he and his family are the only reason the ‘Boycott Aruba’ movement has arisen? So maybe he’d want to wear one around and remind Arubans of this?

      Let me know ….

    36. Richard on February 21st, 2007 1:24 pm

      Meee, good point about the Boston Herald … maybe they could raise a stink about how the Boston Globe won’t report events at its own travel show!

    37. vicki on February 21st, 2007 1:33 pm

      Richard,I think it shouldnt be too expensive with the picture. It can be done with a heat bonder…Im in the business also, but on the other end. I will take alot, as I will send them out as Birthday presents. I think everyone should buy them and pass them out and we should all wear them on May 30th. I would even book a cruise that stops in LIERUBA for that week and DROP A BANNER off the side of the ship. Wouldnt that be something…Maybe we can look into doing that….Im so glad you thought of this…
      I would send a T-shirt to papasweat and one for mamasweat…she could use something that is not see thru.

    38. mayan_moons on February 21st, 2007 1:56 pm

      Hey Vicki!

      Dropping a banner off the side of the ship for Natalee is what my friend is wanting to do too!

      Great Minds & all that. I haven’t had much time to look into the signs this morning but i will ASAP!

    39. Gary on February 21st, 2007 5:42 pm

      Don’t forget, in 2005, the Allegro was closed. Since then, it has reopened. A couple of new hotels have opened. So probably the number of hotel nights stayed are the same, or even a slight increase. Aruba isn’t hurting. Exactly what has gone out of business since the “boycott”?

    40. mayan_moons on February 21st, 2007 5:57 pm

      I said flag earlier but banner is really what i meant.

    41. mayan_moons on February 21st, 2007 6:12 pm

      Hey Elaine!

      Thank You so much for sharing with us that you were able to inform those 500 people! We/I need to hear of moments like that keeping Natalee’s fate & memory in the hearts and minds of Americans. Its just the boost we need. You took the bull by the horns asking to attend that meeting which most of us don’t have that kind of oppertunity.

    42. katablog on February 21st, 2007 9:01 pm

      I love the idea of those that can go to the Boston show. Unfortunately, it’s too far for me too. I will support the t-shirt effort if need be.

      I suggest Natalee’s Picture on the front and “Boycott Aruba” on the back. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t understand all the particulars in the case.

      Like others, whenever I travel I speak about Natalee and make it clear that I would never travel to Aruba. Travelers often talk to each other to get ideas of good places to go. Our last couple of trips have been with a lot of international travelers (like Britain and Germany) and I’ve had the opportunity to educate them on Natalee’s story.

      In fact for travel recommendations, I suggest also looking at South America. Brazil (though I personally wasn’t thrilled with Rio since it’s in total decay, but going down the Amazon river is fantastic), Uruguay and Chile are all fascinating and beautiful places, where the people are anxious to welcome tourists. There are many beautiful places in the Caribbean – so many that there’s simply no reason to go to Aruba. I love Tortola and Virgin Gorda.

    43. nychic on February 21st, 2007 9:58 pm


      Dont forget about the large selection of Natalee
      T-Shirts, Buttons, Stickers etc. at cafepress:

      (they ship very fast – my SM shirt was here in 1 day)

      I wish I were in NYC this weekend – but unfortunately
      I am not – I wear my Natalee/Boycott Aruba shirts alot
      along with the blue bracelet -

      Please remember it is very cold in both places -

      So Be Careful – There Are Always A Few Crazies Out There

    44. Tazman on February 21st, 2007 10:13 pm



    45. Richard on February 22nd, 2007 6:26 am

      Thanks, all, and especially to NYChic for posting that link. I remember reading about them, but haven’t bought anything from them.

    46. Richard on February 22nd, 2007 8:55 am

      Here’s an update on Boston: NY Chic, I sent that link to my partner, who knows about this sort of thing. Apparently you come up with your own design/logo and send it in to them. This place seems to be price-competitive, so I think that’s what we’ll do for the Boston event.

      Many, many thanks for providing that info.

      Also, my partner has come up with a Boston hotel near Logan International Airport that apparently charges something like $75-$80 a night for a room with twin beds. So anyone who wants to take part in the protest can do so with a lodging bill of about $100 for two nights.

      Needless to say, this strikes me as really reasonable. In BOSTON, mind you.

      I’ll post the info later.

      It MIGHT even be possible to wangle a lower group rate if there’s enough interest.

      So come on, everyone … this is your chance to do something for Natalee (and TO Aruba) that will really count!

    47. minnesota dad on February 22nd, 2007 11:03 am


      This is the logical next step for bringing Paulus in. As Rammstein kept stating on here – that letter allowed for the CONFLICT OF INTEREST court ruling stating Paulus was no longer a suspect.

      WHY AREN’T YOU RETRACTING THIS LETTER ARUBA??????? It is very clear from the recent ruling to not give Paulus money that there was serious involvement of Paulus on the night of Natalee’s murder.

      With the retraction of the letter which was provided by a Prosecutor with CONFLICT OF INTEREST, you then need to VOID the judgement made in CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Yes, this will be embarrassing to your justice and judicial systems….but it has to be done.


    48. dennisintn on February 22nd, 2007 1:23 pm

      #37, richard, i expect paulus has all packages from the u.s.a. soaked in a tub of water and opened by the a.l.e. bomb squad. you know how us wacky uncontrollable uncouth cowboys are.

    49. Anna on February 22nd, 2007 1:34 pm

      Aruba has long ago been added to our ..

      “Almost anywhere”

      “BUT ******” list.

      We will NEVER step foot on Aruba…

      and should we …
      by chance …
      ever cruise by …
      Aruba …

      we will look the other way.

    50. JusticeforNatalee on February 22nd, 2007 4:35 pm

      #46 Richard,

      How’s this for a motto:

      Stick Up for Natalee
      Stick It to Aruba

      Join us at the Boston Travel Show

    51. dennisintn on February 22nd, 2007 5:08 pm

      someone should write a book. “why i trust mad dogs and rattlesnakes – more than i trust aruban edicts”.

    52. Roy on February 22nd, 2007 11:39 pm

      Dennis: I’ve always thought that Beth should write the book. She has the names, dates, places; most importantly, the who’s….a kinda no holds barred book with no placement of sentiment or courtesy for Aruba, the Dutch, or even many of those who seemed to help her cause, but may have in fact hurt it….It’s an ace that hasn’t been played and I’m sure there has been ample reason for holding back this long… I just don’t know iffn I trust the person that told her that.
      YO yO; OK, You peaked my interest…Who’s the forward by or do we have to wait to see if Joran get’s paid off first, in which case, a forward by even Greta, will pack little credibility.
      ——All the talk of PVDS picking Joran and Natalee up appx 4:00AM at or near McDonald’s is very interesting. If it is true, is this the crack in the protective wall around the Sloots? I’d be very interested in what Natalee’s condition was? They (Aruba) sure as hell didn’t put their asses on a limb to cover-up an accident. For a long time and for reasons that don’t need re-hashing, I’ve thought that one or both the Kalpoes caused Natalee’s death with drugs meant to kill and the Sloots, unaware of the premeditation but culpable and accessories in the kidnapping and rape, were compelled to participate in the cover-up. SOOOOO, where are they going with this 4AM pick-up that would seem to cut some slack in the Kalpoes direction????? It still doesn’t answer who Natalee was with between 1 and 4 but does in fact make Paulus a liar and MD a little prophetic.

    53. nychic on February 24th, 2007 1:22 am


      ALE Bomb Squad ? You Must Be Joking !
      Wouldn’t That Be Sent Away For Testing To Holland ?
      Unless It Was A Bloody Mattress of Course

      Guess What Sloots: If You Receive A Package From Me
      You Can Bet Your Ass It Will NOT Be A T-Shirt !

    54. Stormy on December 16th, 2007 9:18 pm


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