Boycott Watch  
May 8, 2008
Aruba: Boycott Watch was Right!
Summary: New statements by Aruban Tourism officials proves Boycott Watch caught Aruba in a lie, and that Aruba wanted to cash in on the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.
    Boycott Watch was first to break the story that Aruba lied about its tourism numbers, claiming tourism was up despite the boycott of Aruba called after the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. An article in eTurboNews dated January 16, 2008 was just brought to our attention in which an Aruba official clearly indicates Boycott Watch was right all along.

    In the article by Hazel Heyer, Aruba's minister of tourism and transportation, Edison Briesen was quotes saying "We were strongly hit by this incident ... In the Caribbean, this is the first time an island has been pounded this long by a single event. It's been over a year and a half now and the publicity has not ended."

    This is the first time that Aruba has openly admitted their economy was hit hard by the boycott against them. Aruba originally claimed the boycott did nothing but draw attention to Aruba thus increase tourism, but Boycott Watch uncovered the numbers to prove Aruba was severely hurt by the boycott early on in the boycott.

    While Aruba now says they expect an increase in tourism revenue because the Natalee Holloway disappearance is out of the news, Boycott Watch stated the Aruba economy hit its low point in a previous article, so the islands economy can only go up anyhow. In the mean time, considering the fact that the Natalee Holloway case is still open and no prosecution has been made despite the Joran Van der Sloot confession, Boycott Watch believes Aruba tourism will not fully recover for a long time. While many college students want to go to Aruba for spring break to take advantage of the lax underage drinking and drug law enforcement there, many parents are still objecting to their kids going to Aruba out of concerns for safety, and many parents won't go either.

    The boycott was started and driven by blogger Michelle Simonsen at the Boycott Aruba--Justice For Natalee blog, and was picked up by the Governor of Alabama among many others. The boycott took on a life of its own, as Americans were upset at Aruba for seemingly doing nothing in the case. Now, many Americans are still upset because even after a passenger-seat confession of Joran Van der Sloot, Aruba has failed to take any action to prosecute anyone in the case.

    Briesen appeared arrogant in the interview. When asked about the Holloway family, Briesen stated "We've been very cooperative," something Natalee Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway-Twitty, surely disagrees with, as demonstrated by the number of times she has been on TV stating her disappointment with the way Aruba has been handling the case and treating her personally.

    In the interview, Briesen also echoed a claim by Aruban Tourism officials early in the boycott by saying "more people now know about Aruba." In both cases, these words were used to claim tourism was up because of free publicity. The only problem with that original claim is that it was a complete lie as evidenced by the fact that Briesen admitted Aruba tourism was hit hard by the boycott. There is, therefore, no reason to believe Briesen now either.

    Boycott Watch believes Briesen was attempting to once again bask in self-glorification by taking pride in the media attention garnered by the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. Simply stated, Boycott Watch finds these statements feeding off the probable murder of Natalee Holloway to be repulsive at best.

    The most interesting statement by Briesen in the interview was when he stated "…I would not want Aruba to be known in the same way Iraq is known. One reason why we think it has been a hard blow to us." This is another de facto admission that Aruba feels it was deeply hit by the boycott. Briesen continued: "We are the safest island in the entire western hemisphere. Things like this don't happen in Aruba." But it did.

    Boycott Watch President Fred Taub responded by saying "If Aruba is the safest island in the entire western hemisphere as Briesen believes, perhaps his own Iraq comparison has merit."

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