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November 19, 2007

Aruba Tourism Gets a Failing Grade from National Geographic

Posted in: Amigoe,Aruba,Media,Natalee Holloway,Travel,World

 Aruba get failing grade from “controversial” travel magazine by National Geographic. (That would be sarcasm.) And they wonder why in Aruba that the added “black eye” of how they handled the Natalee Holloway case only added to their less than stellar travel image? National Geographic is hardly a group with a vendetta. Of course Aruba tourism officials will accuse them of something. The National Geographic will be to blame, isn’t that the MO?

Score: 54

“Social/cultural integrity is questionable.”

• “Inappropriate coastal development and misuse of the scarce water resources are the largest challenges to sustainability.”

Traveler compliments Curacao and Bonaire, (But not Aruba) Amigoe

The Traveler of National Geographic is very charmed with Curacao’s historic legacy.  In the picture Countryhouse Jan Kok.

WILLEMSTAD/ORANJESTAD – Although the tourism is growing in Aruba, the rumours about this island are not everywhere positive.  Based on 522 consulted experts, the illustrious travel magazine Traveler of National Geographic published the list of the best and worse island destinations.

Aruba ended up worse than three years ago: with a score of 48 versus 54 points in 2004, Aruba is in the category ‘in serious trouble’.  Traveler writes in a comment that the ‘massive high-rise hotels at the west coast of the island, have led to serious traffic jams’.  The magazine considers the hotels’ big dependency on foreign workers and the influence of the cruise ships on Oranjestad, a minus.  Because of this, Oranjestad has changed into a harbourless town center.  The magazine does not care for cruise ships anyway.  

Curacao and Bonaire are doing better, says Traveler.  The magazine considers especially the latest developments in Curacao and the restoration of the historic legacy, as very positive.  Curacao receives a score of 57 points, but the island is placed in the ‘moderate trouble’ category, which is a mix of negative and positive judgments, and must watch for the high criminality figures.  The magazine also warns for the shortcomings of the drinking water- and other utility provisions and ‘the presence of the refinery that pollutes the environment close to the tourist industry’.  All together, the island is ‘attractive for different kinds of tourism’.

Bonaire gets 68 points, and is in the ‘minor difficulties’ category, but the question is, for how long.  Traveler mentioned that the risk of overdevelopment is growing with the increasing build of real estate and the wish of the government to heavily increase the tourism. 

About Aruba, the magazine mentions that the concentrated build of the high-rise hotels is indeed a good way to increase the number of bodies on the beach, with minimum consequences for the remaining space on the island.  The Traveler is also positive about the way visitors are received and the National Park Arikok, but the island does not offer a diverse tourist product.  “All the island has is sun-, sand-, beach-, and casino experience.  The tourists do not receive any of the ecologic- and/or historic side of this destination.”

On the top of the list are the Faroer Islands near Denmark and at the very bottom is St. Thomas, one of the American Virgin Islands, and second last is Ibiza near Spain.  The hardly developed Dominica is considered the best Caribbean destination. St. Maarten together with the French side St. Martin is in the ‘serious danger zone’ with 47 points, lower than Aruba. 

For more information, visit: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/features/islandsrated0711/islands.html

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