Feb 2019, according to ATA

After experiencing significant challenges in extracting the info from the Immigration computers, ATA just released the detailed February 2019 results, gleaned from the airport’s collected data.

It was a good month with 734,222 nights spent on the island, a 9% growth.

Kudos. Aruba is popular. We’re blessed.

234,360 nights were spent in the high-rises.

56,579 were spent in the low-rises.

206,894 nights were spent in timeshares.


236,390 nights were spent in the ‘Other Accommodations,’ condos and apartments, a whopping 32.8% increase.

(Another column should one day be dedicated to the consequent change in visitors’ profile.)

This segment of the market has been growing in leaps and bounds in recent years and while a few years ago we estimated the inventory at 3,000 units some educated guessers claim we’re up to 12.000 vacation rental on the island. Who knows. Maybe more.

An extensive inventory is required and once the real numbers are available, we can then speak about compliance.

Are they paying 9.5% tourist tax

How about the $3 a day environmental fee?

I know a number of operators are honorable and hand their found of flesh over to GOA, but I bet many don’t.  

“My sources tell me that there is a high amount of uncollected taxes, with an estimated 60% compliance rate on island. It is not correct to increase the burden of the responsible individuals and companies that comply, without first achieving higher compliance of at least 80%,” says a recent AHATA publication.

So here we are. I have been writing about this subject, since the 90s, saying all those who benefit from tourism should be taxed, so that they participate in the promotion of the island, and all ‘Other Accommodations,’ SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE for the 9.5% tax +$3/day environmental fee.  Period.

How much ADDITIONAL money will that bring into ATA’s coffers?

Get a calculator: Conservatively, $10 a day in taxes x 12.000 units, x 236.390 nights? 28 million?!

After promoting tourism lavishly, I bet there will be some surplus left, going into GOA.

So instead of raising taxes, guess what you have to do??

ALSO worth paying attention to: From that same report on guest satisfaction: “With increasing costs, the tourism product is becoming more expensive to the visitor. Perception studies done by the Aruba Tourism Authority have already shown that tourists are starting to rank Aruba lower in “value” due to increased costs.”

The following is what visitors are saying and MINTOUR should read:

“Beaches are to crowed at the hotel areas.”

“Too much traffic in Oranjestad.”

“Taxes are out of control.”

“Please stop with all the new constructions of hotels.”

“Prices are too high.”

“Too touristy, I want a more authentic.”

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October 26, 2019
Rona Coster