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October 05, 2006

Arubans Brace Yourself … New Shopping Mall Near Hotel Resorts … Could this be the Beginning of All-Inclusives?

Posted in: Aruba,Business,Economy,Natalee Holloway,Travel

Could this be the beginning of the end for the normal tourism way of life on Aruba? Not for Allinclusivestourists, we are referring to the Aruban people and shop owners. The new shopping mall Paseo Herencia to be built near the Holiday Inn will draw tourists away from the shops of down town Oranjestad. Is this the beginning of an “all-inclusive” look to Aruba to separate the tourists from the Aruba people in an attempt to bring safety to tourists? People do find safety in “all-inclusive” thus the reason why Jamaica is so popular. (All-inclusive would be defined as a separate property that only guests would be allowed).

The local shop owners in Aruba are not happy. Why would they be? Tourists will be funneled away from locally owned shops to the high end ones near their hotels rather than downtown. What does one think will happen to the downtown area? It will turn into a ghost town.

However, if this is an attempt to separate tourists from the nonsense that goes on in bars like Carlos n’ Charlies Aruba is making another colossal mistake. The Cafà © Bahia is supposed to move into the new mall. Mark our words … if the same conduct that local Aruban boys do at these night clubs is brought to a club that is in the heart of the tourism area, you will have problems beyond your wildest dreams. Tourists stay close to their hotels because they want to feel safe and secure. They do not do this so that they have to worry about the exact problem as to why Natalee Holloway is missing. Aruba, you do realize that you are one tourist altercation away from being Haiti.

What ever the case … removing business from the downtown area to the tourist areas would appear to be the first step in the creation of “all-inclusive” resorts. In our opinion, after bringing justice for Natalee Holloway this would have to be the next logical step in order to attract tourism. Aruba has to show and prove to the tourists that they care about safety. Perception is everything and Aruba must prove to all that they are serious about safety and the investigation of crimes.

Amigoe: “New shopping mall a threat for the city.” 

  The new shopping mall Paseo Herencia, across from the Holiday Inn, will open its doors in February next year. It will house fifty shops, six movie theaters, and various bars and restaurants.

ORANJESTAD – The new shopping mall Paseo Herencia will definitely lead to a drop in sales in the inner city, says Audrey Croes-Lacle,  president of Mambo, the shop owners’ union of Caya Betico Croes. After its completion in February 2007, the paseo will house some fifty shops and restaurants. The popular Cafà © Bahia is moving to the new location, and many shops from the central business district are opening second stores inside the mall.

Paseo Herencia is comprised of eight buildings constructed around a central courtyard with a fountain and swimming pool. In a few weeks the project developers, Heritage Development, will celebrate when they finish setting the highest point on the movie theater complex, which will hold six theaters. Expectations are that the parking garage, the first on Aruba, will be finished in January. The garage is three stories high and offers space for over 300 cars. The women’s synchronized swim team will practice in the swimming pool, which will also be used for other shows. Furthermore the project developer wants to use the courtyard to organize activities throughout the year, like concerts, poetry and writing presentations, and kids’ activities. 

Expectations are that Paseo Herencia will attract tourists from the big hotels located across the street from the shopping mall, as well as residents from Palm Beach to Westpunt. According to Mambo president Croes-Lacle the ramifications of the mall for Oranjestad will therefore be unusually severe. “Paseo will become a real hot-spot. Not only the shopkeepers in the Caya Betico Croes will notice their sales dropping, but every shopping center and store in the inner city.” 

Croes-Lacle is the owner of Maggies and has decided to open a branch in the new shopping mall as well. She doesn’t rule out that the new branch might eventually become more important than the one on Mainstreet. “The entire central business district is dealing with three problems that keep getting worse. It’s unreachable due to the traffic; there aren’t enough parking spots; and we have a lot of nuisance from the homeless. In the long run I’m not ruling out the possibility of downsizing the Maggies in the Caya Betico Croes.” 

The popular bar and dancing spot Cafà © Bahia has already decided to move their business to the Paseo Herencia. A number of other businesses, like Iguana Joe’s Caribbean Bar & Grill, currently located downtown, are opening second branches in the new shopping mall. Croes-Lacle finds it logical that other businesses will also leave the town center. “As a shop owner I also don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Instead of the government sitting down with us to work on the downtown’s problems together, they’re sitting back on their own island.” 

As president of the shop owners’ union Mambo, she would really like to speak with the government about Oranjestad’s business district, and what type of roll it will have in the future. “Let’s get the private and public sectors together and start brainstorming. I think, for example, that we need to take a new direction with the downtown area. It needs to be more oriented towards entertainment, and not just shopping.” Croes-Lacle mentions the Monument Bureau’s plans for a walking tour along the historic buildings. Another example is moving the market stalls selling souvenirs along the harbor. “That’s not working anyway. It would be better if they made a new square for this type of business in the Caya Betico Croes, in the lot where the burned out shop La Linda was. Then you’ll get tourists back on Mainstreet and it will provide a better atmosphere.”

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