Sustainably-themed ICE, Incentive Conference Experience, In Aruba

ECO Destination Management Services of Aruba & Curacao in close collaboration with various local partners, appreciated the honor of hosting 25 Meeting and Incentive Buyers and Prospective Clients as well as 20 related professionals from international brand hotels, cruise lines and tourist boards, in Aruba and in Curacao, for two consecutive three-day experiences, on the two islands.

Originally, Cathy Jones, President of Site Southeast Chapter reached out to ECO DMS in August 2019, she wanted Wichita Villacres to chair an Incentive Conference Experience, ICE, in August 2020.

The plan actually came to fruition in September 2021, when Aruba treated the ICE attendees to an innovative program, sustainably-themed, highlighting Aruba’s environmental practices.

As a popular vacation destination, Aruba has been introducing sustainably practices into daily life and into its tourism product, including extensive safety and health measures, protecting locals and visitors, post-pandemic.

The ICE program was imbued with content highlighting three desired sustainable aspect of tourism: Economic, Environmental and Social. The ICE program attendees experienced the island sustainably from the airport, to Palm Beach, to downtown Oranjestad, in San Nicolas, admiring the fantastic murals, at remote Black Stone Beach, and in the restored traditional Cas Di Wichi.

Sustainability took center stage as the ICE program attendees visited the Santa Lucia Landhuis & Cunucu, a beautiful nature reserve in the heart of the island.

Committee members Cindie Brown/Aruba Marriott, Karen Carini/Four Season Hotels and Wichita Villacres, ECO DMS, report the program was a complete success, thanks to the eager participation of the Aruba hotels and other island partners.

ICE program attendees, checked into the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino were surprised by environmentally friendly room amenities by ECO DMS and the Aruba Convention Visitors Bureau.

Prior the welcome dinner at the Aruba Hilton, a generous donation of goods was awarded to FCVR, a National Foundation against Violence, under the leadership of Magali Maduro.

A morning Yoga, Health and Wellness followed, presented by the Curacao Tourist Office at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino including a Yoga session with instructor Maura Zhang, followed by an Educational General Session. The session included presentations from Annie Meehan and Holy Duckworth, and some local experts.

True to the ICE mission, only local farmers’ products were used in the preparation of lunch, by the Ritz Carlton Aruba, and attendees enjoyed some original refreshing libations with Mint, Mango, Raspberries and Ginger, created in honor of the occasion. Milouska Briezen surprised the forum leading a mindful relaxation class right before lunch.

The evening event at the Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino, was hosted by charming new General Manager Raoul Lemmerling, and included an original site inspection followed by a fantastic display of delicious food, by local growers, expertly prepared by the resort’s culinary brigade. The evening also featured a Food Bank contribution, sent by ECO DMS to the Rehabilitation Center in San Nicolas, a facility for addicts in recovery.

As part of the program, ECO DMS delivered food to the Rehabilitation Center on all consecutive nights, transported in bio degradable and reusable containers.

ICE program attendees spend the next morning at Santa Lucia Landhuis & Cunucu, a Nature Reserve that places the emphasis on the preservation of all local flora and fauna, the indigenous Aruban owl, the Shoco, local cacti, Aloe, herbs and indigenous trees. The tucked away reserve is a small retreat, using renewable resources, it practices composting consistently, and contributes to a Zero Waste World, with the use of solar panels and solar lights. In the future, this location will set up a solar panel farm to become energy solvent.

The ICE program attendees learned about the environmental efforts of the reserve, experienced a meditation circle with Holly Duckworth introducing her “Health Snackables,” and heard from speaker Sanju Luidens, of the Aruba Tourism Authority, about the island’s enforcement of sustainable practices, the use of recycled products, the ban on single use plastic bags, plastic straws, and the ban on non-biodegradable suntan lotion, over local morning favorites, fresh fruit and juices sponsored by the Aruba Convention Visitors Bureau.

The Hyatt Regency took center stage presenting Beer and Bites in the early evening hours, with the final presentation unfolding at the Renaissance Aruba showcasing its sustainable practices at a beautiful cocktail reception on the beach.

The main event at Cas Di Wichi, a local Aruban Cunucu house, restored and refurbished in 2016, featured local chefs and artists, presenting an Aruban menu of local specialties, flavored by a thriving garden of oregano, cilantro, rosemary, basil, thyme, green beans and sawgrass, as well as painting and Caha Di Orgel music, a traditional music grinder.

The highlight of the night, a Kuko Kunuku party bus, which picked up the ICE program attendees for a night on the town, courtesy of owners Marcus and Cindie Wiggins.

During the three nights ICE program in Aruba, all food donations were dropped off in special reusable containers, at the Rehabilitation Center in San Nicolas at the end of each evening, and at all stops, environmentally friendly measures were taken to ensure the ICE program attendees remain true to their sustainably-themed mission of reducing, reusing and recycling.

ECO DMS and its entire team, believes that sustainability protects our ecosystem, preserves natural resources and improves the quality of our lives for future generations. The company applauds Site SE for the initiative and supports its purpose. “We were happy to collaborate with the SITE Southeast chapter, and increase our commitment to our destination and future clients,” concluded Villacres, on behalf of her staffers in Aruba and Curacao. Villacres was also expressed profound gratitude to her staffers for the effort made by the team, executing the program with great finesse and skill.

Post departure, ECO DMS, management and team members received many thank-you notes expressing much appreciation for the educational experience in both Aruba and Curacao.  The spectacular execution of the program, and more importantly, exceeding expectations of all the attendees, landed ECO DMS warm praise and support

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ECO DMS is proud Member of: ADMEI, AHATA, CHATA, EDP Global, FICP, IGLTA, ILEA, MPI, Prestige, SITE, SKAL, 1DMC World, DMC Network, Global DMC Partners, Ovation Global DMC, THE Partnership DMC, World of DMCs.

WINNER OF (3) SITE Crystal Awards, including: “2018 Excellence in Incentive Travel: Latin America & Caribbean.”

WINNER of the 2017 Stella Award for “Best International DMC.”

WINNER OF 2020 BIZBASH EVENT STYLE AWARDS: “Best Guerrilla Marketing Initiative/Marketing Campaign in Live & Virtual Events & Experiences.”

 

 

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October 17, 2021
Rona Coster