Three Ministers visit ATSA, The Aruba Timeshare Association

First of all, it is appreciated, that three GOA ministers took time to visit their tax-payers, because it is a fact that sometimes we get so busy, we forget what’s important.

I would also like to hear the Minister of Labor when invited to an AHATA meeting, talk about his manpower plan and permit processing strategy. That should be most interesting.

The program for the ATSA meeting was put together by Luigi Heredia, the GM of Costa Linda beach Resort, and it was interesting and informative, which must be appreciated too, because most meetings are usually hmmm, boring. This one was not.

The venue, the ballroom at La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino, deserves compliments for serving a great lunch, seamlessly. I need the recipe for that pumpkin soup.

Besides the members of the association, 15 timeshare resorts, represented by their general managers, the meeting was attended by Dangui Oduber, the Minister of Tourism and Public Health, Ursell M. Arends, the Minister of Integrity, Nature, Transport and Elderly Care and Endy Croes, the Minister of Education and Sport.

The ministers came to the meeting prepared with power point presentation, flanked by a modest crew of social media photographers and writers.

Every word recorded, then disseminated as a press release.

The Minister of Tourism and Public Health talked about the island’s pandemic exit-strategy, the Minister of Integrity, Nature, Transport and Elderly Care, wearing the environment hat, reported updates regarding RWZI, the gray water rehabilitation facility in Bubali, and the Minister of Education and Sport, discussed collaboration between the resorts and Scol Practico pa Ofishi, SPO.

In his address, the Minister of Tourism and Public Health announced an increase in the ICU capacity on island, the revision of entry protocols, the strategy for the local community, the flexibility introduced with the acceptance of Anti Gene tests, the reinforcement of the local health-department and the promotion of vaccines.

He talked about Sentinel Testing, and I Googled it, it means a random testing method, that will probably eliminate all FREE testing except for some spot checking. So if the parade on Saturday results in another wave of Covid19, we won’t even know.

He also talked about Tourism Policy, describing six focal areas for the Aruba Tourism Product Enhancement Fund, TPEF, namely Attractions, Safety, Environment, Heritage, Awareness and Investments.

This is the place to mention that all funds for TPEF derive from taxes paid by the timeshare resorts who get too little credit for their generous contributions. Please realize that they are doing the Government’s job.

Among the projects introduced in 2022, Eagle Beach Beautification and Enhancement; dredging the Oranjestad Harbor to replenish Aruba’s white sand deposits; the Malmok Boardwalk Phase 3; the Hooiberg Stairs’ Maintenance and Beautification; the Fort Zoutman Restoration; Sustainable Waste Management via the TPEF cleaner teams — the ploegs on the sides of the roads —   and TPEF garbage bins, also funds allocated to Stimami Sterilisami, the co-sponsoring stray cat & dog, spay and neuter program. Yes, the program is back, spearheaded by Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort.

The Minister of Education and Sport then discussed the efforts made at SPO to integrate students in the workplace, by providing guidance to companies, not just students. SPO, he said provides equitable education to students with limited learning abilities, IQs between 60 to 80, who can learn important life skills, providing they understand instructions clearly. If given sufficient guidance they are motivated, the minister stated, to deliver quality and loyalty to their employer.

SPO he reiterated, promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all, improving living standards.

The school has students between the ages of 12 and 18, and when they graduate they are ready to integrate in the work force, after three years of practical training.

I hope ATSA follows up, and integrates some of the locals with limited learning abilities, within its ranks. The minister suggested a number of jobs in housekeeping departments, could be filled with SPO school system graduates.

The Minister of Integrity, Nature, Transport and Elderly Care, gave a status update regarding RWZI, the gray water rehab facility in Bubali, sharing that since it is not part of the Landspakket, the reforms suggested by the Dutch, Aruba doesn’t have the funding available, however ATA provided the finances for 2022 and a business case is being researched at this moment, testing the possibility for a Build-Own-Operate, option.

The Minister pledged his dedication to the project, supporting the investment to increase RWZI’s capacity, introduce environmental laws governing waste policy and create a united Western Wetland protected area, managed by Fundacion Parlke National Arikok, FPNA.

ATSA also used the occasion to review its Year Ending, 2021 finances, by Treasurer Jurgen Schalijk along with a short update on the Security Foundation by Board Member, hotelier Bob Curtis, and the University of Aruba research project, March 14th to 25th, 2022.

An amicable farewell ceremony for retiring hotelier, former ATSA President, Andy Osborne, concluded the agenda, put together by President Luigi Heredia and Board Member Sulaika Kelly.

ATSA’s 15 member resorts, are all committed to continue making Aruba one of the top popular destinations in the Caribbean. They are: Amsterdam Manor; Aruba Beach Club Resort; Caribbean Palm Village Resort; Casa Del Mar Beach Resort; Costa Linda Beach Resort; Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort; Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort; Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort; Eagle Aruba Resort & Casino; La Cabana Beach Resort and Casino; La Quinta Beach Resort; Marriott Aruba Ocean Club; Marriot Aruba Surf Club; Paradise Beach Villas; and Playa Linda Beach Resort.

Share on:

March 01, 2022
Rona Coster