Since the change of the millennium discussions about the new direction Aruba needs to be headed has been ongoing among the people. Most of us agreed that there needs to be a consolidation in tourism and a diversification of the islands income structures from virtually tourism alone towards a more sustainable and diverse economic mix.
2008 is fast approaching and it doesn’t seem to be happening just yet. Actually Aruba is getting more and more dependent on tourism then ever before.
Let’s take a look at a few examples.
- Marriott has grown considerably during the last few years and added more towers to their inventory.
- Aruba Grand was sold and became Riu Palace and added a few towers on the property.
- In front of Holiday Inn there is a new shopping area constructed and another one is being build next to it.
- In front of Radisson there are a few stores and restaurants build.
- Meanwhile Divi Phoenix is building a few timeshare towers as well.
- Between Palm Beach and Eagle Beach there is another large project in the works.
There are also new plans/rumors of new construction.
- Investors want to build a hotel by Arashi Beach, by the golf course.
- Officials still insist to allow a plan to build a new 5-star resort north of Marriott.
- Officials are even talking about a hotel at Baby Beach.
- South of Marriott building have started on a large unknown project (more about this later).
- Riu Palace has a chronic shortage of parking space, rumors of land grab across the street is imminent.
- Westin is planning on starting to build a new timeshare tower.
The latest phenomenon in Aruba is the building of condominiums on prime locations. At Eagle Beach there are three projects ongoing, among others The Sands. Another huge project is actually Gold Coast Aruba. This massive project is being build by Tierra Del Sol Golf Community.
Recently I learned that the unknown project south of Marriott is actually the start of another condominium resort.
There are many people, like myself, that oppose this latest development because of the over-development of Aruba. On a forum some people started to question this as well.
The project developers state that there is demand for these kind of projects and I’m sure there is. That’s not in doubt here. More important questions are if we can handle it, we want to handle it or we need to handle it socially and infra structurally (i.e. more cars, more roads, more trash).
Another point worth mentioning is the unclear status of the developers owners, financiers and other beneficiaries. As a front towards clients they show the respectable and reputable developers and banks behind the project but how about other beneficiaries? Who are the people behind the many companies involved? Who is really getting the big piece of the pie?
So many questions, so little answers.