The annual AME, Aruba Meets Europe 2018, was an interactive five-day event last week with 56 delegates from Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden & Poland.
The Renaissance Ocean Suites offered the BonBini Cocktail and dinner with the MinTour in attendance. According to his welcome address more than 90.000 Europeans visited our shores in 2017, and while the Netherlands is the main hub for vacationers, other countries have also come on board.
Compliments to the MinTour for showing up and speaking.
I saw coalition and opposition members of parliament attending the events, KUDOS to all. It is about tourism, not politics!
The following day the Hyatt Regency held a nicely orchestrated event featuring Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes as the keynote speaker. She spoke about ATA’s strategic Direction for 2018: The Big Picture. She said the European market has been steadily supporting Aruba at about 8% of the island’s tourism, and that European guests stay an average of 11 days here.
A fun presentation of the new Aruba.com followed with the Evolution of the European Creative Campaign by Sanju Luidens and Europe’s area director, Tirso Tromp. Go to the website to see the entertaining videos.
James Fazio gave the Gateway 2030 presentation about the expansion of the airport, he speaks well and delivers good news.
AME is organized annually by the Aruba Tourism Authority in collaboration with the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association. This year’s edition with tour operators, wholesalers, and airline partners, dedicated to the promotion of the island as a vacation destination, from Europe, featured some new faces, which is a positive development.
On day two, delegates were treated to a cocktail party at the Amsterdam Manor, in a cozy local garden set up, followed by a spectacular sunset champagne toast and wellness cocktails to sax music, over jumbo shrimp at Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts, toes in the sand. The sax player then led the parade from the Bucuti to the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa for an ourdoor experience with sultry, sexy Lucre entertaining over hors d’oeuvres.
I have to say that the five-day program was incredibly layered with interesting, fun activities, chasing each other in rapid succession. Conference delegates had a good time, I did too.
WHAT RONELLA SAID:
As the tourism economy continues to be one of the bright stars in an uncertain world, together we must prepare and take actions to safeguard its sustainable development.
In the case of Aruba, it is vital to our livelihood, as we are the number two most tourism-reliant nation in the world. Aruba’s total Travel & Tourism contribution is 86.5% of GDP and 87% of total employment.
The A.T.A. is committed to foster a sustainable tourism development … to the benefit of the Aruban community, the visitor, and you … our partners, of course in close collaboration with you and other key stakeholders.
Our strategic direction and key priorities for 2018 are in line with trends and developments brought forward and take into account tourism’s contribution to the island’s GDP as well as its welbeing.
Later she added:
We cannot stand still. The travel industry is not static; our product offering and global marketing strategies shouldn’t be either.
As we look forward, we zero in on what tourism can contribute to our future society and on what Aruba uniquely can contribute to the future traveler.