latest news in Aruba

ORANJESTAD (July 29, 2018) – Once a week, on Sundays I write about the most relevant and interesting happenings on the island in my weekly newsletter.

This weeks edition features the top news headlines 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!

The Casino At Ritz Carlton Has New Membership Card & Phone App

The Casino at Ritz Carlton launched a new membership card & phone application for its players!

According to the casino player development executive, the new membership card is the most powerful casino player card offered in Aruba and the Caribbean.

It’s called the ONYX membership card!

The membership card has different benefits

  • $300.00 free for slot play once you sign up
  • you’re awarded $150.00 every week to play slot machines
  • you also get $100.00 every week to play table games
  • $150.00 weekly to spend at the spa or any restaurants in Ritz Hotel
  • 4 nights free at the Ritz every 3 months (including $300 spending money on food and drinks)

How can you become a member of ONYX?

You have to be a frequent player at the Ritz Casino, if you have enough points accumulated, you will be eligible to sign up for the ONYX player card.

You can’t register without having any points, you have to level up to reach!

Inform at the Casino for more details about ONYX.

The director of casino operation at the Ritz announced the new app.

It’s an app for members of the Ritz Casino that provides you with the latest information, promotions, exclusive offers and deals which are redeemable at the casino.

Excelsior Casino Is Not Going To Close Down

There’s been news going around the local and tourist community that excelsior casino is going to close permanently – is there any truth to what you’re hearing?

Yes, they are going to close, but for renovation – not permanently!

The operators contract to run the casino is scheduled to end in September, but they recently extended the agreement. And the spokesperson for excelsior did mention that the casino will undergo a renovation and may closed partially (and temporarily).

The renovation date is yet to be set.

More information on excelsior’s renovation as they release more official news.

Related Article – How To Really Plan A Cheap Aruba Vacation

News Update On Fast Ferry in Aruba

The process to introduce a new fast ferry service between Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao is moving slowly but surely.

At the moment, the three islands (Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao) need to sign an agreement to continue with the development of the fast ferry project.

After the agreement is signed, the government of the three islands will decide which company will be selected to operate the fast ferry.

In order to maintain a schedule and logistics on the fast ferry route, the government also needs to create a public service obligation, in order to ensure transportation between the islands by the operator.

The aforementioned process can take up to 6 months to complete, according to the minister of transport.

One of the commercial organization in Aruba (San Nicolas Business Association) wants more than a fast ferry to be constructed in San Nicolas.

The organization wants to create more businesses, and create a strong economy for the south side of the island.

They want to introduce:

  • A transshipment center
  • Parks
  • Beautiful waterfronts near the fast ferry terminal
  • New businesses (restaurants, shops, bars)

San Nicolas will be booming with activity in a short matter of time.

Design Students Makes Unofficial Model Concept For Fast Ferry Terminal

Drilling Almost Over, Now Waiting for Results

A few weeks ago the company in charge of exploring for gas and oil under Aruba’s water surface started drilling. According to the Prime Minister, drill works are almost over now and everything went as planned.

The next phase of the project will be to analyze the materials found to determine if there’s really gas or oil near the waters of Aruba. This will be done by complex processes to separate impurities to find gas or oil.

When will we find out the results?

According to the company, this can take up to one year.

If the results are negative, they will drill on a different location.

And if there is gas or oil near Aruba, is it enough and will it make sense economically for the island?

Updating The Spatial Development Plan For Aruba

If you want to construct real estate in Aruba, either for business or residential purposes, you need to take two legal frameworks into consideration:

  • Construction and Housing Ordinance
  • Construction and Housing Decree

However, before you can start to construct you need to find a piece of land on the island – you can either buy a property or long lease it.

It’s important to investigate the intended destination of this piece of land with different government departments. You can do this by consulting the spatial development plan for the island.

The spatial development plan contains a broad overview of the social needs for the island with regards to the use of land for different purposes such as housing, business, industry, agriculture and tourism.

The spatial development plan also includes information about the most desired developments on the island in broad lines and a description of different zones (tourist, economic, urban, nature reserve), including the different policies tied to these zones.

The rules are going to change for developers who wish to construct on the island, because the government is working on updating the current spatial development plan for territorial development in Aruba.

The current spatial develop program was introduced in 2009 and expires at the start of 2019 and will be adapted to protect nature areas in Aruba from being damaged by any construction (particularly in the tourism sector, hotels & other accommodation).

Once the new spatial development plan is updated, it will be fixed for 5 years.

Casibari Becomes The Next Protected Area in Aruba

The minister of infrastructure recently expanded the amount of protected areas in Aruba by adding the area of Casibari. From now on the area around Casibari is protected.

Casibari is one of the landmarks on the islands with huge boulders. Surrounding the area of casibari are traditional houses that were built decades ago, and they need to be protected and conserved.  

The minister gave a local scouting group who gather weekly in the nearby area the authority to maintain and protect the area around Casibari.

Most of the islands protected areas are located within the islands national park (about 20% of the island).

The minister of infrastructure also announced that they will be completing several projects destined to protect Aruba’s nature:

  • Marine park (protection for marine life in 3 zones around Aruba)
  • New list of protected flora & fauna

Awareness Day For Mangroves

The entire world celebrated awareness day for mangroves on July 26, 2018.

This special day for mangroves was started in Ecuador and approved officially by UNESCO in 2015.

Mangroves are called Mangel on the island. These trees are not only green and beautiful, but they provide many benefits to the ecosystem and nature.

Mangroves form a barrier between land and sea for islands surrounded by water.

They also protect the coastal beaches from erosion, regulate the water temperature, creates biodiversity of marine life, while offering a habitat and food for fish, birds and other animals.

Construction near areas with mangroves disrupts the growing and development of these trees.

One of the most controversial news was the destruction of mangroves and corals near isla di oro to construct an over water bungalow resort. However, the project was not approved by the government, because it doesn’t comply with Aruba’s regulations in the spatial development plan.

The conservation of Aruba’s nature is a priority for the Government.

Where can you find mangroves in Aruba?

The most common place to find mangroves are near the southern coast – Mangel Halto, Spaans Lagoon and Santo Largo (all located in the coast of Pos Chiquito & Savaneta).

Related Article – How To Discover The Southern Coast Of Aruba By Kayak

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