What is the cause and effect of a declining economy, loss of tax revenue and no change in government spending? Aruba is find out. Less tax revenues result in a need to cut programs or risk an out of control debt. No wonder Aruba had been budgeting less for tourism. However, with the new tourism fund, that will siphon even more money away from the general fund and only allocate it forÃ‚ tourism marketing.Ã‚
According to the Bank, there is instability in the economy and the financing deficit of last year was much higher than budgeted.Ã‚ “Due to small-scale and the unilateral economy, the risks of the continuing deficits become higher and higher.”Ã‚
In order to cover the financial needs, the government borrowed 378 million florins.Ã‚ About half of this was used for the refinancing of the matured loans, which caused the outstanding debts of the government to increase to 1.862 milliard florins, about 46 percent of the estimated gross national product of 2005.Ã‚
The following are the ArubanÃ‚ deficits numbers for recent years (Ignoring the oil sector & the free zone):
- 2005: 309 million florin deficit
- 2004: 237 million florin deficit
- 2003: 346 million florin deficit
- 2002: 233 million florin deficit
Anyone want to make any guesses as to what it will be in 2006Ã‚ as tourism is down 18%? With hotels, restaurants andÃ‚ casinosÃ‚ not being frequented by tourists in large numbers in 2006, where does Aruba expect to generate tax revenue from? Cruise ship passengers do not generate enough revenue to even come close to replacing this gaping hole.
According to the Bank, the public- as well as the private sectors are constantly spending more money on imports that what is exported.Ã‚ “No economy can maintain continuous large deficits on the current account on the long term”, warns the Bank.Ã‚ Certain budgeted revenues did not realize, which caused the financing deficit to be higher than budgeted.Ã‚ A reason for this was that the planned environment tax was not introduced, and the citizens didn’t need to pay for garbage pick up yet.Ã‚ Another draw back was that the profit tax yielded less money than was anticipated.
What does the future have in store for the Aruban economy? The decline in tourism has been continual and worse with every passing month and quarter. Aruba has yet to announce the April, May and June numbers which most probably will be no different. Come 2007, Carnival Cruise has also stated that they will no longer be using Aruba as a port of call.
Aruba has waited for too long to effectively deal with this problem as they expectedÃ‚ the Natalee Holloway situation “to go away in a couple of days”. They may want to rethink that strategy in the future. They best find a way to cut social programs and other spending because this down trend in the economy is not going to be changing any time soon.
Read the full Amigoe story (7/21/06):
How misguided could one island be? Individual and businesses in Aruba would sign a petition to promote and market Aruba. Where were you people to sign a petition to adequately solve and prosecute the disappearance of Natalee Holloway?
AVP wants to establish a tourism fund as soon as possible in order to fill the beaches again with tourists.
In the petition, the government is specifically asked to make an amount of 13 million dollars available to give the promotion of Aruba a big impulse and prevent a further decline. They emphasize the importance of this by indicating that 85 percent of the jobs in Aruba have to do with the tourism.
When is Aruba going to wake up? Does Aruba really think that people do not know that they exist in the Caribbean? The fact of the matter is that most everyone does in the US and that is what upsets them. I am beginning to wonder how this island even became a tourism spot other that luck. As witnessed over the past 13 months it is certainly not because they know what they are doing, care about visitors or understand their market.
Does Aruba really believe in the motto … “if we spend it, they will come?” It’s not going to happen. What part about people have no confidence in the fact that you will adequately protect and investigate a crime against a tourist have you not figured out? No amount of money is going to change that perception. At this point the ALE and Prosecutors office have not even admitted the real mistakes that were made.
No amount of money is going to change the fact that for some reason that only Aruba knows, the ALE departed from normal police procedure in the investigation of Natalee Holloway and provided preferential treatment to certain individuals. American tourists ARE NOT going to a place where there is a precedent of cronyism and turning your head to protect and hide what what happened to one of their own.
What is more telling is this sentence that hopefully the NYC Judge in charge of the Holloway and Twitty’s civil case is looking at.
The Aruba Marketing Retreat took place in New York recently. The businesses and organizations in the tourism field that took part in the retreat expressed their concern about the lack of money for a big promotion campaign.
Isn’t that rather convenient. Aruba can come to NYC on a retreat to discuss the marketing and basically out-source their tourism with NYC consultants, but there is no NEXUS in the civil case according to the lawyers for the Van der Sloots. Its also OK for the Van der Sloots to come to NYC for their own self-serving purposes. Wouldn’t it seem a simple concept that if Aruba thinks it important enough to come to NYC to discuss the the what makes up 70% of their economy that it would create a relationship. So why isn’t it important enough that they entertain the idea of a civil case against an Aruban as well? That would be a hint to the NYC Judge. It would almost seem like Aruba has exported their tourism decisions to NYC, so why not this civil case as well?
However, the fact that Aruba thinks they can buy their way out of this is as short-sighted and misguided as it gets.
They are of the opinion that the negative publicity of last year after the disappearance of Natalee Holloway had hurt the tourism bad. A big campaign would contribute to a recovery. The government has cut the budget and made it impossible to start such campaign.
A big campaign would contribute to your recovery? No it won’t!!! It will infuriate people even more. You would put money over human life? Aruba, you have been wrong ever inch of the way in dealing with this problem.Maybe you should listen to those that know the real reason for your problems rather than living in a vacuum listening to “yes” men.
Has Carlos N’ Charlie’s been penalized or prosecuted for allowing under age people to drink in their establishment which contributed in the chain of events for Natalee Holloway’s disappearance. Has the Excelsior Casino been prosecuted for allowing individuals to gamble under age according to the laws of Aruba? What part about not even being allowed in the casino under 18 is difficult to comprehend, let alone to actually sit at a table and gamble? It could easily be stated that if the Excelsior Casino followed the laws of Aruba, Joran Van der Sloot would never have been allowed in to gamble and never met the Mountain Brook teens at the card table.
The legal age for entry into a casino is eighteen (18) years, and the casino has the right to request a valid I.D. as proof of age. (Visit Aruba.com)
Does everyone remember when Aruban Prime Minister said he would not tolerate any activities that would harm American tourists? What do you think the two examples above did?
”Learning the news of Natalee’s disappearance on our island left us all in a state of shock and disbelief,” Oduber said. “We will not tolerate any activities that harm our American friends or tarnishes Aruba’s reputation.”
It was not negative publicity that caused the problem of Aruba’s declining tourism. It was the actions and inactions of the ALE and the powers to be in Aruba to investigate this disappearance in a professional and competent manner. That is your problem. Stop blaming others. Own up to this and maybe, just maybe you might be given a second chance. However, that will never occur unless you come clean. What are you hiding?
READ THE FULL STORY AT AMIGOE: July 20, 2006
AVP hopes to get more information from Ahata on the Aruba Marketing Retreat that was organized in New York recently. The participants came to the conclusion that the tourism in Aruba is not doing very well and that the investments in the promotion do not correspond to what the marketing bureaus advice.
According to Eman, what the tour operators and airline companies are saying confirm the fact that we do need a Tourism-fund. “Alarm is being sound everywhere. The tourism is the drive of our economy and must and will remain as such in the near future. We have to take actions now in order to combat this negative spiral.”
Month after month, quarter after quarter of terrible and declining tourism numbers Aruba has finally come to the conclusion that they are not doing well and action has to be taken now to combat the disastrous tourism situation they face. Unbelievable. Where have you people been? The apple does not fall far from the tree in the investigation in to why Aruban tourism is down and that of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. In both case they are desperately lacking. However, the irony is that they are both forever connected to each other even though AHATA and the Aruban officials will never say so and keep their head in the sand and blinfolded.
(Vanderbilt – “06)
It is a wonder how these people will ever fix the problem when they refuse to look at the truth of the matter and remain blindfolded to the causal effect of the terrible and unprofessional investigation in to the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. Aruba’s answer to change their tourism stars. Is it to show the tourism public that they are willing and able to adequately investigate a crime where a tourist goes missing? Is it to show the future paying tourists that if something goes terribly wrong in Aruba that a tourist will not get caught up in home town cronyism? No, Aruba’s answer is to throw money at the problem and restructure their tourism from “quantity to quality”.
Not only does the AVP want to reverse the trend, but wants to work with a new plan for tourism toward a restructuring from quantity to quality. “Each replacement and renewal of hotel capacity must improve the level of service and productivity”, says Eman. According to him, Aruba is way overbuilt, the development of the infrastructure is behind and heavily loaded, and there is a structural shortage in workers. “Each enlargement of the hotel capacity should be limited and only allowed when it improves the quality.”
I am not quite sure if tourists who frequent Aruba presently should be insulted or not. You look at people as a ”quantity”? Which would in turn mean that Aruba does not provide amenities that would only be available to the “quality”. Frankly, the comments and the vision is a joke and sounds more like the movie Spinal Tap when the band was asked if that they are worried if the bands popularity is waning as they are playing to smaller crowds than they did before. Spinals Taps answer: “I do not think our popularity is waning, only becoming more select.”
We will borrow one more line from Spinal Tap regarding the “blinders” approach to dealing with tourism and the Natalee Holloway effect by the AHATA
- Ian Faith: The Boston gig has been cancelled…
- David St. Hubbins: What?
- Ian Faith: Yeah. I wouldn’t worry about it though, it’s not a big college town.
Read the full article … Amigoe; July 19, 2006 Ahata supports tourism fund
Was it incompetence or an intentional cover up by the police in the investigation of the disappearance of Natalle Holloway? We can look back on the events that took place one year ago today and ask ourselves that very questions. In hindsight one wonders, what if anything did the ALE do or send to Holland to be tested. What did they really find at Turtle Bay? Do they even still have it?
Aruba has hit the misery index trifecta for February and March 2006 … tourism down, occupancy down, inflation up. How long will the powers that be allow this to continue … or should I say afford this to continue. Amigoe: Also Bank observed decrease tourism
ARUBA – The Central Bank of Aruba (CBA) published her monthly bulletin for May, in which is stated that the tourism figures decreased, the money quantity dropped and the inflation went up. Remarkable is that the tourism figures are related to February and March and not to May. The Bank explains in her bulletin that Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) has not yet published the figures for April and May of this year. CBA could therefore only compare the figures for February and March with same months last year. The number of visitors in February and March 2006 decreased with respectfully 11.1 and 18.2 percent. The number of stay over tourists dropped with 5.6 and 15.6 percent in February and March respectfully. The Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) registered the average occupancy in hotels for the month of May, which are 74.2 percent; 3.8 percent lower than same month last year.