Sundays I write about the most relevant and interesting happenings on the island in my weekly newsletter.
This weeks edition is the first newsletter for 2019 and features the recent and future developments in Aruba.
Subscribing to my newsletter is an ideal way to stay up to date with what’s going on in Aruba – whether you’re living on the island, miles away or your first visit!
If this is your first time reading my newsletter – welcome!
Aruba & Curacao Sign Historic Agreement For Fast Ferry Project
The fast ferry service between Aruba and Curacao is moving closer to becoming a reality as the government of Aruba and Curacao sign a memorandum of understanding on December 21, 2018.
With this new agreement, Aruba and Curacao are moving forward towards developing everything needed to start the fast ferry service between the two islands. Within 6 – 8 months all required paperwork and laws should be put in place by both island. After this a fast ferry operator will be selected and the construction of the harbor will start in San Nicolas.
As of now, the fast ferry is planned only to travel between Aruba and Curacao. After the success of the fast ferry is proven, Bonaire will also be included into the route.
The fast ferry service will not only bring social and economical benefits for San Nicolas, but also offer visitors a less expensive travel method to experience Aruba’s neighboring island, Curacao (and soon Bonaire).
Aruba Stops New Hotels With Moratorium
On September 30, 2018 the political party known as RAIZ started a petition to collect 10.000 signatures to stop the uncontrolled construction of hotels, condominium and timeshares on the island – this after the government announced that a new hotel (St.Regis) will start construction as of 2019 on Palm beach.
RAIZ released the official count of signatures collected for moratorium until now, as of December 12, 2018 total of 7347 people have signed the petition.
If you haven’t signed the petition yet, you can do so here.
Here’s a little more about the moratorium that RAIZ wants to achieve:
- Immediately introduce a moratorium on hotels, timeshares and condominiums by means of a national ordinance;
- Implement a “high value low impact” tourism policy by law, as was advised by our tourism institutions;
- Regulate, check and limit the quantity of tourist related activities (watersports, UTV rentals, restaurants, waterparks etc.).
It seems that the efforts of RAIZ did not go unseen, because the infrastructure minister instituted a moratorium on new condominiums, hotels and timeshares. However, what’s already been promised has to be complied with. This decision was made in regards to the new ROPV that’s taking place, and to insure a highest quality of life for locals and visitors.
Marine Park Becomes Official in Aruba
The government officially introduced a marine park at four beach location in Aruba on January 1, 2019. The new marine park is managed by National Park Arikok.
What is a marine park? It’s an specific area set by the government to preserve the marine life that live in the habitat for the future. The marine park will stimulate the growth of fish species that are endangered, creating more amazing underwater life and protect corals from destruction.
This will benefits fisheries, local economy and it will also increase the opportunities for marine tourism (better snorkeling spots).
There’s a total of 4 beach areas protected by the marine park:
- Coastline Beaches in Arikok
- Mangel Halto until Santo Largo
- Coastline beaches in San nicolas
- Surfside beach until Punta Brabo
Aruba Breaks Record For Cruise Visitors in 2018
Aruba continues to enhance its popularity as the must visit island in the Caribbean after breaking record for cruise visitors.
In 2018 a total of 815.000 cruise visitors stepped foot on the ports of Oranjestad to experience the best beaches, downtown shopping, restaurants and island activities.
Larger ships carrying more passengers introduced more visitors to the island compared to 2017 (792.403 cruise visitors) – This is over 350 ships throughout the year.
The months with the most cruise visitors in 2018 were January, November and December with over 50 ships and more than 100.000 registered visitors each month.
Besides almost reaching a million cruise visitors in 2018, it was also the first time one of the largest ships in the world, Freedom of the Seas, docked in Aruba.
The calls for more cruise ships to visit Aruba is increasing and attracting more tourist.
17.000 Extra Aruba Visitors With American Airlines
American Airlines opens two more gateways to Aruba that promises to bring over 17.000 extra visitors to Aruba every year.
The new flights will depart from Dallas, Texas and Chicago Illinois.
American Airlines is a strategic partner for over 49 years to Aruba and it contributes to over 139.000 passengers each year to our one happy island. With these 2 new flights, Aruba will enjoy an extra 17.000 tourists looking to relax and experience the island life.
If You Thought Aruba Has Beautiful Beaches, Think Again
The lesser known beaches around the island are going to increase in popularity as the government plans to improve and renovate several coastlines around Aruba.
According to tourism minister the following beaches will undergo improvement and beautification:
- Baby beach – Rodgers beach
- Coastlines beaches near National Park Arikok
Malmok is a pristine blue beach with a narrow beach strip and limestone terrace. It’s not as visited as Eagle or Palm beach, but it’s equally beautiful and a perfect spot to snorkel.
The beach strip at Malmok is popular with cyclers, runners and visitors taking beach walks. To insure safety for visitors at Malmok, the government will develop a boardwalk starting from Fishermans hut (next to Ritz Carlton Hotel) until the intersection at Boca Catalina.
Developments will start in the first quarter of 2019 in two phases.
The limestone rocks at Malmok are known to be sharp and this makes the beach only accessible at certain parts, however, more entries will be created for visitors as developments take place.
Besides a new boardwalk, light poles will also be added on the road leading from Malmok to California Lighthouse.
The beaches located in San Nicolas will also be beautified throughout the course of this year.
Boardwalks will also be created between Rodgers beach and Baby beach, including new restaurants, cafes, shops and restrooms for visitors.
Besides the beach renovations, the roads that lead to the popular tourist attractions will be developed and direction signs will be added. This includes attractions like Hooiberg, Ayo Rock Formation, Andicuri, Daimari, Conchi (Natural Pool) and beaches near coastlines of Arikok National Park.
Future Developments in Aruba For 2019
This new year will bring a lot of positive changes to the island. What can we expect?
Tourism minister announced dozens of new projects to beautify the island and enhance the experience for visitors, for example several beaches around the island will be renovated, and there’s going to be more events and activities around the island.
The movie theater on the island is undergoing an upgrade with a new IMAX theater being built near Eagle.
Government is planning on legalizing medical cannabis.
More details in the upcoming newsletters.
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