Breakfast with ATA

The Aruba Tourism Authority, ATA, invited for breakfast, at Senses, Radisson Blu.

Compliments to the chef for serving a hit parade of favorites, we loved every bite. Senses recently checked into Radisson Blu, having traded its previous home at the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in the low rise area, for a premier Palm Beach location.

The ATA galaxy was in circulation with all its stars in attendance, prepared to brief the local press on their activities, which was a good move since most of their marketing efforts take place overseas, and are a mystery to us.

But judging from the success of the Aruba tourist product, the Aruba Tourism Authority works very hard, and delivers stellar results.

ATA’s CEO, the tireless Ronella Croes talked about the island’s fast recovery from the pandemic slump and presented her organization’s four-pronged strategy for helping grow the country’s tourism receipts, within a sustainable growth model, which consists of growing the demand for the island, marketing the island to high value customers, improving their on-island experience to encourage more spending and improving the quality of the on-island product, to deliver value for money.

Croes reported there will be an update to the island’s carrying capacity research, and that her organization is dedicated to a High Value Low Impact Tourism Growth Model. ATA will continue to seek solutions for the island’s challenges, among them labor shortages, the threat surrounding the Bubali grey water plant, the ROP, the island’s Spatial Development Plan, and the so-called fiscal reform that just raised the room tax for tourists from 9.5% to 12.5%. ATA will be monitoring the impact of that, to gage market reaction.

Last but not least Croes reported that in 2023, receipts from room tax that previously went directly into the ATA coffers, dedicated to marketing, will now be divided. ATA will receive 7.1% and GOA the rest, which means that 5.4 % of tourism tax receipts will now go into GOA’s pockets, aka the black hole.

I think it will probably balance itself out, because the pie in now bigger, with the growth of the tourism industry here, more tax revenue is generated and perhaps 9.5% of a smaller pie equals 7.1% of a bigger one.

In the past, I did hear some hotelier whisper that ATA enjoyed an over-supply of money, and was looking for investment projects. Those are now bundled together, financed by the increasingly important Tourism Product Enhancement Fund, TPEF, that now plays a starring role in beautification and renovation initiatives, neglected by GOA.

Thank you, Sanju Luidens Daryanani for giving us a taste of the current and future marketing campaigns for the island, titled The Aruba Effect, and thank you Patrick Melchiors and Melanie Lopez for updating us on the MANY projects in the pipelines.

Thank you, Marisol Sanchez, for packaging it all into neat press releases, so we don’t even have to make any effort to write anything.

We appreciated.

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January 19, 2023
Rona Coster