The Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba defied the credit crunch in 2009 and is aiming for an even better 2010.
Aruba has now firmly established itself as one of the top 10 destinations in the Caribbean for the UK market: according to the latest available figures, from January to September 2009 Aruba saw a 41.88 per cent year-on-year increase in visitor numbers from the UK (10,265 as opposed to 7,235 for the same period in 2008). This is the first time that the island has surpassed 10,000 visitors from the UK in a single year.
For 2010 the Aruba Tourism Authority’s UK office is implementing a £150k advertising campaign to further raise the profile of the island among UK consumers and to continue to increase the number of visitors.
Building on last year’s highly successful promotion, the Aruba Tourism Authority is expanding its presence on the London Underground, which now includes tube car panels, show case squares (large posters) and LCD digital moving images by the escalators. The campaign was launched at the beginning of January and will run for six weeks.
In addition – supporting the increased frequency of Thomson’s flights from Manchester (which go weekly from fortnightly in May) – a three-month taxi campaign was launched in November, with 60 Aruba-themed cabs driving around Manchester.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is also resuming its Aruba service on 1st February, due to growing demand (flights between Amsterdam and Aruba were suspended earlier in 2009).
Aruba Tourism Authority UK director Joanna Walding said:
“Despite the economic downturn, Aruba had a record year and remains one of the fastest growing destinations in the Caribbean for the UK market. With more flights available and two major advertising campaigns going on, we are confident that the upward trend can be maintained for 2010”.
More than 30 UK tour operators now feature the island. The Aruba Tourism Authority operates a dedicated online training programme for UK travel agents, accessible at www.ArubaAcademy.co.uk