This week, the annual Seatrade Cruise Global conference is taking place, a conference focused on Business to Business, where buyers and service and/or product providers from more than 140 different countries all around the world come together. As per usual, the Minister of Tourism, Aruba Ports Authority, and the Office of Tourism, ATA, were present at this conference to represent Aruba as a destination. There are various activities and shipping companies in Aruba that were also present to meet with their partners.
Seeing that Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are in the southern part of the Caribbean, where there are not as many cruise itineraries present compared to the northern Caribbean islands, the three islands combined forces during the conference and have a booth together, and in turn working conjunctively to create opportunities that can benefit all three islands, and are present as the ABC islands.
The conference consists of various chats, receptions, information sessions, and an opportunity to meet with existing and new partners. After two years of the pandemic, this opportunity is of utmost importance.
In the first quarter of 2022, Aruba received 155,153 cruise passengers, which is 47.03% less than the first quarter of 2019. It needs to be said that Aruba received 121 cruise ships in this period, 2.5% more than in the same period of 2019. By 2022, the recovery period is projected between 49% and 79% compared to 2019. This moment, based on berth reservations, shows that the number of cruise ships planned to come to Aruba will bring a recovery of 99.4% compared to 2019.
Aruba’s delegation that attended the conference consisted of the Minister of Tourism, Dangui Odder, APA’s CEO, Marc Figaroa, ATA’s CEO, Ronella Croes, and ATA’s Cruise Manager, Mario Arends. They congregated with different partners, including various cruise lines, like MSC, Carnival Cruise Lines, RCCL, Azamara, AIDA, and Costa, and also with Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), and Port Colon 2000 Panama. There were also a delegation meeting with Curaçao, Bonaire, and Sint Maarten.
ATA sees the opportunity to be present at Seatrade Cruise Global, as one very beneficial and fruitful for Aruba as a cruise destination. A continued effort will be made, conjunctively with APA, The Tourism Ministry, and partners, to stimulate a longer stay for the visitors in port, where the ships can remain overnight, to stimulate an introduction of more ships during the summer months, and an introduction of more upscale boutique/luxury ships. This will remain in continuation with product upgrades and offers in part with Aruba. Attention is led to what Aruba can carry as a destination, taking into account the welfare of our community and an optimal experience for our cruise passengers, and also an extended stay-over.