Aruba is supposed to be known according to the ATA for its charm and nice treatment from the Aruban people. However, it would appear that Aruba is more about the large developers and mega-malls when it comes to tourism. So much for all the local shops owned by Arubans in downtown Oranjestad, looks like the powers that be in Aruba care more about the mega-developers. No wonder they are willing to do anything to protect tourism at all cost.
Amigoe; April 4, 2007: Mega-Mall forms a threat for the town center
ORANJESTAD — Developing a mega-mall near the cruise harbour will lead to unacceptable sales losses for all the stores and kiosks in the town center of Oranjestad. AVP-party-leader Mike Eman calls the ‘plans’ of APA and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) unacceptable. Also Benny Nisbet of the non-parliamentary party PPA is questioning the plans.
Having a shopping center right there at the cruise harbour will hurt all the businesses in the town center. Why would the cruise tourists elsewhere, if everything they need and want is available right there. The number of kiosks, shoppes, restaurants, and bars that are being threatened by the plans is big. The Port of Call Mall has 21 stores; the Seaport Mall has 40; Royal Plaza Mall has 45; there are 32 businesses in the Havenstraat; the Caya Betico Croes (Mainstreet) has 144 businesses; the Shea Mall and Aventura Mall have both 9 stores; there are 8 stores on Plaza Daniel Leo; Bayside Mall has 48; Renaissance Mall has 57 stores; Holland Mall has 9; Wilhelminastraat has 30; and the 20 kiosks at the harbour entrance, and the 17 market halls at the ‘little harbour’. A total of more than 400 stores and 40 restaurants that are endangered by the realization of this new mega-mall.
Renovating the harbour of Oranjestad to promote the cruise tourism and moving the container harbour to Barcadera, should be part of an integral plan for the development of Aruba, is the opinion of AVP. There is a blueprint for quite a few years already to enhance the cruise tourism and to create a modern container harbour in an industrial area with more room and a good infrastructure. Eman says that it is unacceptable to use this blueprint as a steppingstone to use 40 hectare land on the premises of the container harbour for mega-malls, casinos, and other projects at the Paardenbaai. That the plans help the town center to sell more is nonsense.
If 200 to 300 millions are invested in a mall at the harbour entrance, you would do everything possible to have the cruise tourists spend each dollar in this mall so you can get your invested money out.
Eman sees more a modern and attractive harbour with a corridor that leads the cruise tourists to the town center, the streets, commercial centers and historical places. He is of the opinion that there should be a national discussion on this, before any decision is made.