According to the Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA), Aruba has continued its upward trend in year-to-date visitors from North America, posting noteworthy increases in arrivals from both the U.S. and Canada from August through October. As a result of a significant increase in U.S. visitors August finished up 15.38% higher than last year, while September, typically one of the slowest months on island, posted a 6.38% gain and October took the prize with an impressive double-digit 16.05% spike. Overall for 2003, travel January through October, U.S. arrivals are up an average 6.28% from 2002, which translates into nearly 23,000 more vacationers. Canada earned bragging rights these past few months with increases of 35.42%, 0.23% and 14.44% in August, September and October respectively. The marked U.S. arrival increase in August, September and October come off the heels of two equally impressive months, June and July, which posted a combined 14.23% spike. The strength and continuity of the positive numbers impressed Minister of Tourism and Transportation Edison Briesen who stated, “We were delighted by the strong numbers we saw in June and July and are even more proud that this arrival growth has continued through historically slower times such as September. We are thrilled to see five consecutive months of increased visitors and look forward to continuing this upward movement.“Factors that have contributed to this continued gain of visitors from North America to Aruba include new and expanded airlift and additional seats, coupled with ATA’s integrated marketing efforts. Plus, on-island events in August, September and October, such as the Aruba International Pro-Am Golf Tournament and the Second Annual Aruba Music Festival featuring music legends Crosby, Stills and Nash and Chicago, are also contributors to drawing this increase in visitors to the island where happiness lives.Those planning a trip to Aruba might peg it to one of the island’s upcoming events, namely the vibrant Christmas celebrations or the island’s 50th Anniversary Carnival, boasting two months of non-stop parties and unbridled revelry. Kicking off in January and coming to a fiery culmination in February, Aruba’s 50th Anniversary Carnival promises to be even more fantastic than year’s past with incredibly vivid costumes, lively contests and “jump-ups’” (street parties) to celebrate a half century of celebration.