The Aruban Government is pushing ahead with its plan to limit the number of all-inclusive resorts and rooms on the island, despite objections by the Advisory Council (see related article). The matter is relevant for St. Maarten, where the concept also is being applied increasingly.
Particularly the strongly growing Canadian market appears to favour the approach and it’s always important to cater to the demands of customers. The negative part is that such guests spend less in local restaurants outside their hotels, with obvious economic consequences.
The Eman Cabinet in any case believes the disadvantages outweigh the benefits, thus the idea is to maintain the practice at its current level for Aruba. The Advisory Council, on the other hand, is concerned about the impact on the investment climate.
It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, because some properties may have little choice but to make the change so they can keep their heads above water by getting more income from guests. People also must take into account that the Dutch side’s dominant timeshare and vacation home sectors already offer full kitchens that allow visitors to cook their own meals instead of eating elsewhere.
There is no clear-cut answer to this dilemma, but basically ignoring the trend and its implications would be like sticking one’s proverbial head in the sand. Continually monitoring the tourism product and making adjustments where desirable and/or necessary is a good policy for any destination.
But it might be worthwhile to closely follow developments in Aruba regarding this sensitive issue before making any major moves. After all, there is no need to reinvent the wheel and certainly not to repeat possible mistakes of others.
The best policy is probably indeed to strive for a balance between all-inclusive and regular hotel rooms. However, whether Government should get actively involved in enforcing what it considers a “healthy mix” is a whole other question.
Source: Daily Herald
A whole other question