Tourism did not save us from Poverty

I am reading the EP, slowly.

From page 11: “Finally, regarding tourism the government’s main objective for the period 2017-2021 is to increase the quality of the tourism product to attract high-income tourists and create more activities to increase the participation of tourism in our economy (Hunto pa Aruba, 2017).”

From page 15: “We are at the crossroad of important decisions related to the carrying capacity of the island, to balance the need to protect the environment and to create new economic development.”

From page 16: “Therefore, the government will enforce a moratorium on hotels in the region of north, only permitting those hotel and condominium projects that have already been committed. In the center of Oranjestad and San Nicolas small boutique hotels of maximum 15 rooms each will be permitted. In the Oranjestad port area the construction of a maximum of 100 rooms will be approved. To stimulate new business activities in San Nicolas a hotel of 600 rooms will be constructed. All these hotel projects must comply with regulations to safeguard the environment and use sustainable building materials and technologies.”

From Page 20: “With this analysis ATA reached an important conclusion; ‘Aruba has reached its carrying capacity, overstretching its resources beyond sustainable levels’.”

I wish GOA would read its own report; how do you reconcile all above three quotes?

The way I see it the drive to so called attract high-income tourists resulted in MANY more ATV/UTV, which exploded exponentially this year. And we can all see that the 600-room hotel in SN is on the books. I wonder if the project will get off the ground, on the wings of public protest.

(Nevertheless, we must come up with an alternative for SN, which leads into poverty, next.)

In the chapter about Sustainable Economic Growth, GOA asks the million-dollar question.

From Page 25: “So, do we choose to continue with the economic growth in tourism as we know even if it means environmental degradation? Is the economic growth really increasing the wellbeing and quality of life of all citizens?”

From Page 25: “Aruba experienced a remarkable economic growth since the 1990’s, and did withstand several global economic and financial crises HOWEVER ….  this economic growth did not necessarily translate into real improvement of economic and living conditions of the general population… there was likely no discernible RISE in the population’s material well-being during this period.”

How sad, we did this, we did that, and the general population did not benefit, and I quote: “The above-stated suggests that the working class did not benefit (from development) and hence, arguably did not get a fair share of the economic boom.”

The BOMB:

From Page 26: “Based on the 2010 Census data, one in five households was deemed poor when applying the normative relative poverty threshold of 60 percent of the median equivalized monthly income (Awg 2,300), and 27percent when applying the threshold of 70 percent, which equated to a monthly income of Awg 1,610.

In SN, for example, 22% are poor, 28% vulnerable to poverty.

How hope many people read this, we should all go to the rescue, private and public sector.   

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April 25, 2019
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