Tisa LaSorte on NoticiaCla

Tito Lacle conducted a 50-minute interview with Tisa LaSorte, AHATA President and CEO, and they covered a lot of ground, not everything. Tito did not ask about creative ways to cut government spending, so we are still in suspense, but otherwise it was a well spent hour.

LaSorte has a good screen presence, and unlike a previous guest, who goes around in circles, Tisa is direct and frugal with words, she answers questions and rightfully assumes her interviewer got it.

A few topics were especially interesting, and AHATA speaks on behalf of 135 local companies — just 25 of then hotels.

Fiscal Reform

According to LaSorte, commerce is very interested in a tax reform, but the devil is in the details and commerce is preoccupied with the decision-making process, that may be rushed, not allowing time enough to truly figure out the repercussions and consequences of the switch. The success of the reform depends on more efficient collection and compliance, the right taxes have to be nixed and others well calculated and enforced.

Because of the complexity of the transition and because Aruba cannot afford to become more expensive, the process cannot happen behind closed doors, commerce has to be included every step of the way, and not just given a document at a meeting, with the expectation of an immediate reaction.

The fiscal reform, while welcome, has to be thought out carefully, otherwise it’s a Perfect Storm, between inflation as a result of supply chain shortages, tax reform causing higher taxes and lack of employment. While GOA is focused on increasing its income it has to take its taxpayers into consideration.


According to cautious projections, Aruba will be doing reasonably well this winter yet the situation is still volatile in the group market which is an important component of our business. The group visitor segment reacts with cancellations to any increase in Covid19 cases on the island. And while one resort may be busy hosting families and individuals, the other, relying mostly on groups, may not. If all goes well, Aruba will recuperate 85% of its pre-covid, 2019 business, in 2022. We are an aging destination, we must work harder, and invest continuously. We should not get comfortable, and let our guard down.

Labor shortage

Aruba is currently suffering from a severe labor shortage, a lack of employees, even before the opening of new properties, currently under construction. The AHATA website has a long list on vacancies, yet GOA has stopped granting permits, arbitrarily – my interpretation — even if the skill-set required in not available on the island. That avenue of permits must open, in order to support the industry where qualified personnel is the key to success. Long term, schools should also look at the needs of the industry and educated students accordingly, so that young people leave schools equipped with the tools they need to find employment.

Cash Flow

La Sorte also informed a certain minister that Cash Flow is used for employee salaries, therefor the minister cannot insinuate misspending the money, if it went to salaries, in the case of the over-paid salary subsidies. According to LaSorte all over-payments have to be reimbursed, and gratitude for Dutch aid should be forthcoming.

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December 13, 2021
Rona Coster