Members of the Aruba Timeshare Association, ATSA, came together for a lunch meeting at La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino, along with representatives of the majority of vacation ownership properties on our island that were present.
The Food & Beverage department of La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino prepared an exceptional variety of food, combined with the resort’s ever-friendly service and hospitality. ATSA President, Luigi Heredia of Costa Linda Beach Resort, welcomed members before officially opening the meeting. In his remarks, he noted, “The timeshare industry has continued to grow significantly in recent decades to become an attractive vacation option for younger customers, and the results speak for themselves. Today’s timeshare product offers flexibility. Customers clearly enjoy these options and continue to recognize overall flexibility and exchange opportunities as their main reasons for purchasing timeshare.”
Heredia went on to express that ATSA is honored to welcome Minister Glenbert Croes, Minister of Labor, Energy, and Integration, who shared information on the labor market, and representatives of Minister Dangui Oduber, Minister of Tourism and Public Health, who provided an overview of the proposed hotel and restaurant permit process, as well as an update on the Tourism Product Enhancement Fund (TPEF).
ATSA also welcomed the Aruba Hotel & Security Foundation, Dylan Molina, and Patrick Melchiors, who provided information on the Tourism Security Patrol initiative. Minister Glenbert Croes also made a presentation on the island’s updated Admission Policy and strategies, as well as initiatives related to unemployment and other labor challenges in Aruba.
He touched on improved collaboration between government departments such as DIMAS and DPL, responsible for immigration and labor. The minister also discussed exceptions granted to those awaiting employment, changes in family reunification, alterations in work permit applications, the introduction of a multi-year option, and a new fee structure. The presentation concluded with a question and answer panel.
While the Minister of Tourism and Public Health had to excuse himself from the meeting to attend to unexpected matters, his representatives proceeded to introduce HORECA permit fees and the creation of a new authority to oversee the permit and supervision process. This new entity, the Aruba Quality & Hospitality Authority (AQHA), will be specifically responsible for quality control and compliance. It will be a semi-public entity and responsible for permits for vacation rentals, accommodations, hotels, and restaurants, from start to finish, serving as a one-stop shop.
AQHA must be sustainable, and the question of fees will be reviewed before the program is officially launched in the first quarter of 2024. The Aruba Hospitality & Security Foundation (AH&SF), currently home to the Tourism Security Patrol Aruba (TSPA), also received attention. According to Dylan Molina and Patrick Melchiors, AH&SF was founded in 2001 by AHATA to support security in the tourism area. This was funded by the Aruba Tourism Authority, with funds generated by the tourist levy and managed by participants in the tourism sector such as AHATA, ATA, ATSA, ATIA, and the police. Now, the Tourism Security Patrol Aruba (TSPA) will be established to increase security visibility in the Palm Beach and Eagle Beach area. Cameleon Associates will also assist in training private security professionals and continue public training to enhance the safety of Aruba residents along with tourists, starting in November 2023.
Additionally, two other agenda items were presented and approved in the budget for 2024, including the election of a new board member, Rina Geerman, to replace a retiring member, Jessica Franken of La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino.
At the end of the meeting, a brief summary of the Tourism Product Enhancement Fund (TPEF) was presented by ATSA member Sulaika Kelly of Playa Linda Beach Resort, who reported on several enhancement projects around our island. ATSA member Pedro Vargas of Marriott Ocean Club also commented on the positive developments of the Security Foundation. The meeting concluded after two hours, packed with important business information.
ATSA was established in 1994 and currently boasts the majority of vacation ownership properties on Aruba as members. The association works at a local level, supporting organizations such as AHATA (Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association) and other local and governmental entities. On a regional level, Aruba is recognized as a model destination for vacation ownership. ATSA also maintains professional relationships with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association and benefits from ongoing collaboration with the American Resort & Development Association (ARDA).