Aruba Tourism 1997 – 2008 [image by ATA]
Local tourism authority released the much anticipated figures with results of last year’s tourism performance. Off the bat I can report that the figures decent. Tourists who flew in to Aruba topped 825,000 in 2008, up with 6.88% in comparison to 2007. Cruise tourism also increased putting the amount of total visitors above the million mark by a wide margin.
On the flip side, it is unsettling to learn how the first three months of 2008 showed double digit growth in comparison to the same period a year before, while this year it dropped single digit in comparison to 2008. Obviously is to be expected. Needless to say that tourism is under pressure since last September, where month after month there was negative growth of average 4.1% per month. Tourism officials expect a drop of 5 to 10 percent for 2009.
I’m an optimist and still can find a positive spin. Even with the modest drop in visitors amount it takes us back to levels of “good” years 2005 and 2006. Another point of optimism is the fact that Caribbean travel is cheaper than ever, and oil prices are still relatively low, making traveling more attractive and affordable.