Aruba Tourism Claims High Occupancy Hotel Numbers … Too Bad They are Not from America & Too Bad Numbers Can Be Deceiving
First let’s clear up yet another fact that Aruba has got wrong, the US is not in a recession. That being said Aruba is once again touting supposedly strong tourism numbers for 2008. Of course as anyone knows any number can be manipulated to look good. With the cost of living increasing and CPI on the rise, the reality is that tourism would have to far out perform what it did in 2005.
Rob Smith, director of Hotel- and Tourism Organization Ahata. He anticipates that 2008 will close with 76.5 percent room occupancy, which is going to look like 2005, which was the best year ever for our island.
Baghdad Bob Says Aruba Tourism is Safe
Even though with the high cost of fuel AHATA front man Rob Smith believes that the prospects for tourism in Aruba will be good. Mr. Smith, Baghdad Bob also said that American troops were not at their door step and were bogged down in the desert. Fuel costs are effecting everyone, especially those pesky, all important planes at American Airlines that canceled flights that actually bring tourists to Aruba.
The AHATA would like everyone to believe that they are equal to pre-Natalee Holloway tourism numbers. That is not entirely true. Even if all numbers reported are true that the hotel occupancy rates are equal to 2005, there are two truths that have gone unstated. One, less percentage of Americans are traveling to Aruba than in 2005. Two, does anyone think that the hotel rates are the same in 2008 as compared to 2005? Aruba travel packages have been so slashed to entice tourism that the occupancy rate would have to be 50 to 60 percent higher to even break even. Numbers can be deceiving and those in the travel industry only with to put out what makes them look good. Let’s talk revenues vs. expenses and the bottom line.
Ahata: 2008 is going to be a good year despite the recession in the US (Amigoe: June 9, 2008)
ORANJESTAD – The prospects for the tourism for the rest of this year look good, said Rob Smith, director of Hotel- and Tourism Organization Ahata. He anticipates that 2008 will close with 76.5 percent room occupancy, which is going to look like 2005, which was the best year ever for our island. Despite the fact that the oil prices continue to increase and the threatening danger of an American recession, Ahata is ‘moderately optimistic’ about the tourism in Aruba, says Smith. There are several factors that make sure that the number of tourists in Aruba remains stable, such as the big number of timeshares on the island; also the fact that Aruba is a so-called short haul (1 to 3 hours flight) destination helps.
Aruba also takes advantage of the strong euro. “The fact that our currency is linked to the American dollar, makes Aruba cheaper for the European market”, said Smith. Besides Aruba has an extremely high number of gateways for the region; airports from where airline companies can fly to Aruba; travelers can easily reach Aruba from these gateways, which is a plus.
Still, Ahata is concerned about the fuel crisis and its consequences for the fares of the airline tickets. Also the crisis on the American mortgage market has effect on the number of American tourists. From inquiries it appeared that 75 percent of the American tourists in Aruba have a house of their own and that 13 percent have investments in real estate. The high fuel prices and the threatening American recession are also worrisome issues for Minister Edison Briesen of Transport and Tourism. Briesen hinted in the media last week that the high fuel prices can have ‘disastrous’ consequences for our island. With this he refers to the recent flight cancellations by American Airlines. We must urgently look for alternatives, said the minister. Alternatives are attracting more tourists from South-America and Europe. He is also considering marketing cooperation with other islands in the region.