Cruise Ship Passengers Declining in Aruba and the Caribbean … Are Reported Tourism Numbers Accurate?
Some tourism numbers were reported in Aruba indicating a treading water trend in the hotel occupancy rate; however, cruise ship passengers were down significantly. The decline of cruise ships in the Caribbean is a trend that is occurring creating a Cruise ship Blues for many in the Caribbean. However, one wonders when a country is so dependent on one industry like tourism, are the numbers reported accurately?
Available data show that the average occupancy rate of hotels for April 2007 edged up by 0.7 percentage point to 81.8 percent, after falling slightly by 0.5 percentage point to 82.0 percent for March 2007. The Aruba Tourism Authority has not yet published the data on tourist arrivals and nights spent on the island for March and April 2007.
Since February 2007, the number of cruise passengers has been declining. This number fell again in April and May 2007 by, respectively, 17.3 percent and 25.8 percent, in spite of a 3.4 percent rise in ship calls in April 2007 and a notable 75 percent hike in May 2007. A major factor for this development was the cancellation as of January 2007 of the weekly visits of the Carnival Cruise Lines to Aruba. (Central Bank Aruba)
Of course that is if we are to believe that Aruban officials are actually reporting the actual numbers and not using creating accounting. It is hard to believe from actual pictures of few tourist on the beach, people’s accounts who have visited Aruba and common sense crunching of numbers that what is being presented is 100% accurate. We posed the question to Jossy Mansur of Diario, what is tourism really like on Aruba? Its hard to believe that it is close to pre-Natalee missing numbers as we have seen then decline in large numbers since and only increase in some months by small amounts. Does Aruba really provide accurate numbers when reporting?
Tourism hasn’t fared well lately. The hotels are operating with a below normal occupancy for this time of year (we are in the off-season now). The figures published by the government are not reliable. They tend to present favorable numbers that will make them look good, but that do not reflect the reality of the industry. Numerous factors, including the Holloway case, have contributed to the noticeable drop in tourism. Lack of an integral plan, lack of funds, lack of an effective and all-encompassing publicity campaign in the traditional markets, renewed competition from some of the other more aggressive and well-funded islands in the Caribbean, are some of the contributing factors. (Jossy Mansur)
Aruba and the Caribbean may have even worse news in the future when it comes to cruise line travel. The once great Caribbean cruise ship market is no longer. It had become over saturated and now is in decline as other places in the world are the new hot spot. As other Caribbean islands have learned, the trend in the cruise line industry is now focusing on the Mediterranean.
Cruise lines have been trending not only out of The Bahamas, but out of the Caribbean entirely, Christie said at yesterday’s press conference. Growth in the Mediterranean cruise market is posing challenges for the entire region, the Opposition leader said. (The Nassau Guardian)