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Future of Bushiri

Above picture: Bushiri Resort earlier this month

Bushiri Resort was an all-inclusive resort, owned and operated by the island government, located on the main road from Oranjestad to the beach hotel areas. The same building featured a hotel trade school that offered many students in-house, on the job training.

Due to bad management and politics this resort was closed in the early two thousands and has been sitting there ever since, deteriorating, losing most of its value. Currently it’s still wasting taxpayers money. A government managing a resort? Really? You’ve got to be kidding me.

What are the options? First, let me tell you what the property entails: a resort building of 150 rooms, two tennis courts, pool and bar. In these times a resort like that isn’t attractive for any investor to operate. It needs to be upgraded. Herein lies the problem. Most hotel developers and operators need to double or triple the amount of hotel rooms, add a casino and a couple of restaurants.

Previous government held a public bidding process and three candidates emerged as potential buyer. The prime candidate was Spanish Meliá. The purchase price was $14.5 million. For this price Meliá wanted to build a super resort with hundreds of rooms and casino to make it feasible. The government opposed this plan. Meliá pulled out.

Now the new Minister of Tourism is planning to contact the other two candidates to see if they are still interested. If this is not the case, a new sales offer will be put out. In case no one steps forward to purchase Bushiri the government will demolish the building and restore access to the beach.

If you ask me I would choose the latter. Get rid of it. Demolish this building and its place build a beach park with a commemorative plaque as a remembrance of Bushiri as an institution for education. I can tell this much: I don’t want to be in the shoes of the Minister of Tourism. Why? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Let me explain.

  • If he leaves it as is, it’s going to deteriorate further and cost taxpayers more money. Result: angry people.
  • If he sells it and let it be redeveloped into a 600 room super resort with casino, criticism of overdevelopment follows. Result: angry people.
  • If he demolishes it, people will cry foul and call it “destruction of capital”. Result: angry people.

Aruba is One Happy Island, but we also have many cranky and angry people. Nobody said politics was an easy business, but he needs to make a decision, quite frankly the sad state of Bushiri is unacceptable.

By Gabriel

Informing travelers about Aruba since 2007, and trying to provide value to Aruba visitors.

3 replies on “Future of Bushiri”

Bushiri Resort was my home away from all five of my visits were there from 1989-1999.
It will be sad to see it go.
What will happen all the other people who want to learn a trade that was given at Bushiri it helped the people and the tourist.
The hotels now don’t give the same attention to detail like it did. The help is not as friendly either. Plus I felt super save with the security there, as I was a solo traveler.

Bushiri Beach Resort brings a lot of fond memories to those who stayed there and to those who went to school there.

Having said that, and as good as the idea behind Bushiri resort and tourism school might have been, in hindsight, the hotel stood no chance to compete with larger, better funded hotels. Also, I’m not sure a government (albeit indirectly) should be involved in the daily operations of a for-profit company, which Bushiri was.

It has been over a decade that Bushiri Resort shut down and still the building is further deteriorating every day which is painful to watch every time I drive by on that road.

It is a shame how the legacy of that resort and school – including the thousands of tourists and students that stayed/went – is being tarnished.

As of today, I believe that the building is worthless, only leaving the land with some value. Especially if you consider neighboring cargo harbor area has moved and is ripe for redevelopment.

Thank you for your comment Linda.

Thank you Gabriel, for your most valued input.
Let me ask you this, where can I stay now when I begin my annually visits again.
I am now retired.
What is the San Nicolas area like now?
Respectfully, Linda

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