Boycott Watch  
August 19, 2008
Aruba: More Lies and Less Safety
Summary:Aruba continues to lie about tourism numbers, even as a double-murderer escaped from jail in Aruba, thanks to more police incompetence.
    It should be no surprise that Boycott Watch has criticized Aruba for fudging tourism numbers in the face of the boycotts called against that country because of the way they handled the Natalee Holloway disappearance, and now murder case. One of the comments made by Fred Taub, President of Boycott Watch while on Your World with Neil Cavuto on the Fox News Channel is that Aruba wanted to get the case out of the news to get tourism numbers up (See: here, here and here ). Boycott Watch also broke the story about how Aruba lied about tourism numbers, claiming tourism was up when in actuality, it was down. Aruba was simply more interested in promoting their tourism industry than solving the murder, as evidenced by the fact that Aruba later admitted they lied about tourism numbers, essentially stating that Fred Taub of Boycott Watch was right all along (See: Aruba: Boycott Watch was Right!).

    One would have thought, therefore, that Aruba would stop lying about tourism numbers, but that is not the case. Amigoe, the newspaper of Aruba, reported a near 90 percent occupancy of hotel rooms, and specifically 89.1% for the past eight months. In the hotel industry, that is considered full occupancy since it takes time to get rooms prepared for the next guests. Considering that it takes about an hour to properly prepare a hotel room for the next guests not to mention the food service and other tourist services, this means the islands unemployment rate would be very low, and the economy should therefore be booming.

    The July 2008 report of the Central Bank of Aruba tells a different story, a "1.3 percentage points decrease to 78.4 percent in July 2008, compared to a year earlier. In essence, the Aruba Tourism Ministry is once again inflating the actual numbers to reporters in order to gain good PR. Additionally; the Central Bank of Aruba's quarterly report stated "mixed results," mainly because while tourism is up, "the construction and oil sectors incurred a slowdown in production." This is significant because the Central Bank warned Aruba that they need to diversify so they are not totally reliant on tourism. Also, construction slowdowns indicate a slowing economy.

    It is clear that Aruba wants to do everything they can to increase tourism, which is the biggest chunk of their economy, and they will lie to make people think it is the hottest place to vacation, pun intended. What they will not tell you, however, is that the Aruba Police are still incompetent. Amigoe recently reported a double-murderer in their jail escaped by simply using an extension ladder. Yes, the police who botched the Natalee Holloway murder case left a ladder for murderers and other prisoners in their jail to escape with, and did not bother to make sure such prisoners were secure. Despite the small size of the island, the murderer is still free after 72 hours.

    While Aruba is trying to promote a safe and secure vacation paradise, they are clearly doing a poor job proving it to the world. They claim a safe environment for tourists, yet we know they are prone to lie, even after being caught in the act and finally admitting it more than a year later. The best way to gain trust is to start by telling the truth, and Aruba appears to be addicted to lies, even while knowing their claims can be independently checked, which Boycott Watch did. Unlike the Aruba government, the Central bank of Aruba is concerned with financial reports and not political grandstanding, which is why the banking numbers are more reliable. Meanwhile, Aruba's government clearly has no problems telling the world their Island is safe, despite practically inviting one murderer to escape from jail and allowing a confessed murderer stay out of jail. Perhaps Aruba should change its motto from "one happy island" to "return-airline tickets optional."

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