How we work: AHATA functions on a variety of levels, always keeping in mind the end goal of building the brand of Aruba while ensuring a satisfied Aruban visitor. Our three core functions include:
- Influencing the marketing of Aruba through AHATA's membership on the Board of Directors of the Aruba Tourism Authority.
- Advocacy (issues including labor, fiscal, environment and cost of doing business)
- Membership Support (offering opportunities in networking, education and a greater degree of visibility and industry participation)
AHATA has a small and professional staff of two led by the President & CEO. With the support of a diverse member base, the Association maintains a close working partnership with the Aruba Tourism Authority and collaborates with other non-governmental organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Aruba Trade and Industry Association, the Main Street Merchants Association and the San Nicolas Business Association.
Our position: During its 50 year existence, AHATA has been recognized as the primary representative of the Aruba tourism industry for the private sector, not only in Aruba but also abroad. In the region, the Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) and AHATA have been mentioned on several occasions as an example for other islands when referring to “how to manage tourism”. There is a remarkable respect for Aruba in the circles of CTO (Caribbean Tourism Organization), CHTA (Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association), and CSHAE (Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives).
The creation of the new ATA Board.
In September 2009 a new government of Aruba was elected and immediately began the process of implementing one of its campaign promises, that is to create a joint private/public sector Board to manage the spending of the Aruba Tourism Authority.After extensive negotiations between AHATA and the Ministry of Tourism Memorandum of Understanding was signed on March 25th 2010 agreeing that the Government's room tax, which was set at 6% at that time, would increase to 7.5% and that the 2% room toll which was voluntarily assessed by AHATA member hotels would be converted into a mandatory 2% room tax to be paid by all hotels thus increasing the total room tax to 9.5%. The proceeds of this 9.5% room tax would then go to an independent fund to be used by the ATA solely for marketing activities and was to be managed by a seven (7) person Board of Directors of which AHATA would appoint three. Three other would be appointed by the Minister of Tourism and the seventh independent director would be nominated by the six directors and appointed by the Minister of Tourism.
Legislation confirming this agreement was passed in February 2011 and the new ATA Board held its first meeting on Wednesday March 16th 2011. The directors appointed by AHATA on this Board are Mr. Ewald Biemans, Mr. Warren Stanley and Mr. James Hepple.
AHATA's new role.
The main implication of this agreement was that AHATA would no longer receive the income from the 2% room toll to finance its own marketing activities as these activities would now be undertaken by the ATA. Consequently AHATA has redefined itself and its new central purpose is:-
To protect, direct and influence the tourism industry of Aruba by engaging the public sector to ensure room tax funds are properly allocated, effectively spent, and marketing plans are properly executed to grow rev-par and visitor spending.
AHATA's key tasks.
- To have a strong and effective representation on the ATA Board.
- To build value for all members and grow the association by understanding their needs and delivering solutions. This will focus on education, advocacy, safety, becoming a centralized point of communication and information about business conditions, environmental sustainability, and product enhancement and quality.
- To provide community service and to generate public awareness and, by so doing, to groom the next generation of Arubans to be involved in the tourism industry.
AHATA will achieve these tasks by:-
- Having an active and engaged Board and membership working to achieve our vision.
- Having an effective staff working for the association.
- Having the resources to fund our efforts.
- Having the legal framework to accomplish this, that is to have appropriate by laws and articles of association.
AHATA will adhere to the following core values
- Committment to the success of Aruba.
- Respect and integrity.
- Ethical behavior.
- Membership/community equity.
- Responsiveness, accessibility and efficiency.
- High standards and professionalism.
- A committment to learning and education.
- A committment toward constant innovation.
In summary our four (4) main goals are:-
- To be the private sector marketing advocate for the tourism industry of Aruba.
- To be its members primary resource for quality and professional membership services.
- To be the public lobbyist for its membership.
- To channel the collective strength of our membership to forward our industry's interests.