Booking Engine On

The many charms of the Caribbean paradise of Aruba are given exposure through an innovative new move in which, instead of landscape views of a sun-kissed vacation, the island is profiled in the diversity of its people, who reach out to visitors through individual personal profiles. This digitalized, island-wide welcome is part of a state-of-the-art renovation of the island’s official Website, which also includes a booking engine, in transforming into a multifunctional travel destination site.

The Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) and Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association (AHATA), through a public private partnership, have announced the launch of Aruba’s new Website,, complete with an industry-first social networking feature. Visitors to can share experiences, pictures and videos from their Aruba vacations with other travelers and Aruban locals through personalized profile pages. The Website also features a new booking engine, allowing travelers to research, plan and directly book vacations to Aruba.

“Our visitors have always commented that it is the hospitality of our people that brings them back each year. It is only natural then that we would be the first to utilize this tool in reaching out and enabling even stronger ties between visitors and local residents,” said Myrna Jansen, ATA’s managing director. “It adds a completely new dimension to the entire vacation experience, which can begin long before the guests’ arrival and can last long after, with a return visit to the island instantly transformed into a homecoming.”

“It is a move that is both cutting-edge as well as completely logical. The site is already generating numerous bookings as well as a multitude of ‘friend’ profiles in its first few weeks,” adds AHATA CEO & President Rob Smith. “The site is not only revolutionary for its combination of social networking and booking features, but for its origins as a joint initiative which was shared equally in conception, development and realization between the public and private sector.”

Aruba visitors are encouraged to set up online profiles on This can be done by signing up for a free account with a valid email address and then one can begin customizing a personal profile page. Personal pages can be built by featuring individual vacation experiences, uploading Aruba pictures and videos, and sharing travel tips and island recommendations. Many of Aruba’s hotels, island attractions and restaurants are already featured on the Website and Aruba’s travel partners such as tour operators, travel agents and airlines are invited to set up their profiles, which provide details and images of their products and services.

First-timers to Aruba can tap into the vast consumer knowledge on the site by contacting previous visitors and locals directly through their individual profile pages. The dialogue taking place on serves as a valuable resource for vacationers.

The new Website also provides an online booking engine for travelers. In addition to researching a multitude of hotels and resorts, restaurants, on-island activities and tours, visitors can make their reservations online directly through the site. Travelers can build their itinerary in advance and book just prior to their vacation or even during their vacation. Bookings and reservations are handled directly with the specific vendor, thus guaranteeing the lowest rate.

The new Website launch is part of Aruba’s new brand campaign, “90,000 Friends You Haven’t Met Yet,” launched in October 2008, with ads that profile Aruban locals telling his or her own story about who they are and why they love Aruba. This distinct and personalized campaign gives consumers a chance to “meet” and get to know real locals before ever setting foot in Aruba.

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