Aruba: coming to a travel agent near you

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aruba

Aruba in party mood –  as they expect to see more Brits?

Aruba, the Caribbean island that is Dutch owned but attracts Americans tens and tens of thousands each year isn’t very well known by those of us in the UK and Ireland. That is largely due to the fact that, until recently, we have had very little in the way of direct flights. We either had to fly to Amsterdam or one of the US cities that had links.

That is changing and just as Cape Verde appeared from nowhere to become an important destination for the British travel industry, Aruba may become one of the most visited of the Caribbean islands. Suddenly our package holiday industry has realised that Aruba exists whereas up until now it has been the province of the specialist tour operators. Thomson (which also sells it under its First Choice brand name as well) already flies to the island but only from Gatwick. Next year that will change with flights from Manchester as well. Now Virgin Holidays and Hayes & Jarvis have added the island to their portfolios.

The island enjoyed record business from Britain in 2014, when visitor figures reached an all-time high. UK numbers grew by more than 12 per cent in 2014, topping the 10,000 mark for the first time. In addition to the 10,447 UK visitors, there was a 34 per cent growth from Ireland. UK arrival figures for 2016 are expected to grow by 70 per cent.

This interest from tour operators in the UK could only have come about as a result from all the infrastructure changes and improvements that the island has seen. New hotels have been built or are in the process of being built but at the top end of the market. Aruba is not seeking the bucket and spade crowd. It wants to offer quality not quantity. Nonetheless that means that more than a dozen hotels have been upgraded. One resort is spending over $100,000 per room on upgrades.

The airport, Reina Beatrix is also having £100 million spent on it in anticipation of more visitors and this comes on top of the $1 billion spent by the government on things like beach facilities and its linear park scheme, designed to create a 10-mile environmentally friendly area stretching from a point close to the airport to the main hotel district.

Pop into your travel agent or look online and Aruba will pop up everywhere as a holiday option for next year.

 

For more information about Aruba, click here.

 

 

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