ORANJESTAD – The Aruba Excellence Foundation (AEF), an independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of service in Aruba’s tourism sector, has unveiled its strategic plans for the period 2023-2025. This follows the recent signing of a three-year agreement with the Aruba Tourism Authority (A.T.A.), in which the A.T.A. has extended its commitment to focus on fundamental efforts for the development of the Aruba product.
The AEF, which took over the leadership of the Aruba Certification Program (ACP) and the Happy Information Officers (HIO) program in 2018, has been a driving force in the pursuit of excellence in the island’s tourism sector in recent years. Between 2018 and 2022, over 6,000 people completed the ACP certification program, an achievement that the AEF sees as a significant indicator of its success.
With the new agreement, the AEF aims to position itself as the Authority of Hospitality in Aruba. They have been recognized as the training entity by the A.T.A. and are responsible for leading the workforce in the field of hospitality and tourism.
The future plan of the AEF is focused on enhancing the quality of visitors’ experience through educational programs that promote Aruba’s hospitality and friendliness. These programs include topics such as the characteristics of Aruba, history, geology, flora and fauna, and the principles of Zjeito. An important goal is the expansion of the AEF’s portfolio with new programs such as the Service Excellence Training Program, the Storytelling Training Program, and the Sustainable Leadership Program.
An important component of the strategic plan is the modernization of the ACP program. This will ensure that the program becomes more attractive to different types of participants and provides them with accurate and concise information, using so-called “21st-century skills” that will help them in their lives and careers.
The AEF has set ambitious goals for the next three years. In an optimistic scenario, they expect that 3,000 people will be certified in 2023, 3,750 people in 2024, and 4,500 people in 2025. In a more realistic scenario, it is estimated that just over 6,000 people will receive their certification between 2023 and 2025.
Another important initiative pursued by the AEF is the integration of its content into school curricula. The Aruba Certification Program has successfully carried out a pilot project with St. Paulus School, and the AEF plans to further collaborate with various educational institutions to ensure that this content is included in school curricula.
According to the A.T.A.’s “high value-low impact” tourism model, the A.T.A. recognizes that developing skills such as product knowledge and soft skills remains essential for connecting with visitors on the island and creating a lasting and memorable experience.
With these ambitious plans and the ongoing support of the A.T.A., the AEF is well-positioned to continue its mission of improving the quality of the tourist experience in Aruba while contributing to the development and sustainability of the island’s tourism sector.