Due to COVID-19, the construction of Embassy Suites by Hilton was temporarily halted, but as of writing work has resumed. All told, the delay is somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks. The original tentative month of delivery would have been August 2020, but this will be pushed back a few months.
Nearly three months ago, Aruba tourism industry was decimated virtually overnight. This means that Aruba’s only revenue source dried up. Multi-millions of dollars had evaporated in refunds that hotels and other operators had to issue.
New bookings have dried up and reports suggest that it will take years for tourism to recover to pre-pandemic levels. Consequently, as most countries in the world, Aruba is devastated.
Now that it has dawned on most locals that Aruba is reopening, most tourism-actors are scrambling to get ready. Most tourism-related companies understand that only a fraction of visitors is expected. This is in comparison to pre-COVID-19 visitors’ numbers.
The lines are currently being drawn. Big actors such as resorts and casinos are getting ready. For example, Divi Resorts, Acqua Condo, and Marriott Resorts are preparing or finishing work for the grand reopening.
One after another Caribbean destination is unveiling their reopening plans. Some islands are planning for an opening in early June 2020. Meanwhile other are quiet on reopening.
Aruba is currently working with the tourism office and health department to work on a certification program. Reportedly they are following the recommendations according to the likes of the World Health Organization.
Most tourism service providers are currently trying the get the local certification. The local health department published some guidelines in our native language Papiamento.
As Aruba is emerging from its self-imposed and devastating economic lockdown, many hotel-properties are itching to restart operations. This is for many a question of survival.
For most properties, for the first time in their existence they shut down and suspended operations completely. Meanwhile, several reports suggest that the future of hotels may be uncertain if operations don’t resume soon.
As of writing, there is still no end in sight for COVID-19. There is no perspective on reopening tourism and resuming tourism jobs. The devastation continues to reap havoc among the local population.
The Aruba Minister of Economy declared that 80% of Aruba’s economy has been wiped away. Nearly three-fifths of the tax revenue collapsed and nearly 70% is unemployed.
Even though bookings have started to trickle in, it won’t do much for the labor force right now. Hotels meanwhile, keep a minimal staff on hand for security, maintenance, and other construction work.
Everywhere there is news now about reopening. One country after another is announcing its reopening and is ready to get back to business. In the US there is talk of reopening. Meanwhile, Europe is announcing its intention to reopen all borders within the EU in June.
On the other hand, many hotel industry giants such as Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt are creating protocols to tackle the new reality. There will be widely different approaches between each hotel chain. The “correct” approach will manifest itself within the next few weeks.
Airlines are also eying restarting operations sooner rather than later. The industry has launched many ideas as to how to move forward. The key is to ensure the safety and health of its staff and passengers.