"Having a different offer is important"
To discuss the current situation of the island and its wide range of possibilities, Travel2Latam spoke with Pablo Rodríguez, director in Argentina; and Jordan Schlipken, Marketing Specialist for Latin America of the Tourism Authority of Aruba (ATA).
One of the main reasons for visits to the island is for its offer of sun, sand and beaches. Bearing in mind that there are other similar proposals in the Caribbean, what do you think is the most significant value for tourists visiting the destination?
J: Aruba is an island that is outside the hurricane belt and with an average temperature of 28 °. This is very attractive for the markets, since at any moment they can plan their vacations, without thinking that there could be any change in weather, sargassum problems and rains that affect their vacations. Additionally, the island is extremely safe; It has one of the highest safety rates in the Caribbean and, therefore, can be enjoyed and traveled either on foot, by car or by bicycle.
What are the priority markets? And the potentials?
J: For Aruba Tourism Authority, in Latin America, the priority markets that already have an important maturity and high presence of tourists are Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia; and the potentials with large growth brands are Peru, Uruguay and Paraguay.
How do you analyze the tourism industry in Latin America and the Caribbean? What are the greatest similarities between these markets?
J: The Latin American industry has had a great growth because it is a very interesting market for the millennial with a focus on exploration and cultural area. As for the Caribbean, particularly Aruba has had an important growth in increase of arrivals in recent years of these travelers who seek activities such as kitesurfing, windsurfing, adventure and culture.
In a recent conference, they talked about the possibility of focusing on the middle and upper middle class segment of Argentina to attract more tourists. How does this segment behave compared to others?
P: The segment showed a greater influx of passengers in January and July; figures that are consistent with holiday periods in the country, which have two sections: summer holidays, start in December and last until the end of February. On the other hand, the winter break consists of two weeks in July. The island grew a lot in its hotel, gastronomic and shopping offer. There are options for all tastes and the prices vary according to the seasons. Our price-quality ratio is totally in accordance with the service received. We are not the cheapest destination, but if you plan ahead and the dates are flexible, you can get very attractive rates. In this way, Aruba becomes an excellent option.
In the year-on-year comparison, 48.6% more Argentine tourists chose Isla Feliz. What does this result have to do with it?
P: Aruba has characteristics and offers that are unique and that makes the Argentines choose it more and more. For example, its beach Eagle Beach was awarded as the fourth most beautiful by Tripadvisor and Aruba was chosen by USA Today as one of the most important islands in the world. In addition to its privileged location, its constant cool and sunny climate allows you to plan vacations at any time of the year.
What marketing actions are carried out in the country and in the rest of the region?
J: At the regional level we have several Marketing activities as the advertising campaign focused on the destination that drives the message # NecesitásAruba. In addition, we participate in several tourism fairs for the trade and for consumers, we carry out quarterly promotions together with airlines and hotels.
P: Currently, in Argentina and in other countries, during August and September, we are promoting romance through the He Said Yes campaign, with which we want to promote the breakdown of stereotypes when asking for marriage. In turn, there are special promotions for everyone who wants to go on a honeymoon, get married or have a romantic getaway.
In this sense, what is the most influential change at the communication level?
J: Since last year we are working regionally under an aligned communication that is supported in the elements of brand value. The communication always has a local touch of each of the markets to generate a much closer relationship. Aruba continues to be an aspirational destination and with a good positioning in the markets, this is why all our content leads each of the people to dream and to be inspired to prepare for a unique trip to discover our happy island.
What is the determining factor when it comes to attracting new tourists?
J: Having a different offer is important. In Aruba we say that we are an all-inclusive island because you can choose more than 200 restaurants, sports for all tastes ranging from golf and beach tennis to kitesurfing and windsurfing, activities to tour the island in jeeps, UTV, catamaran and buses of parties. We have a wide calendar of events throughout the year and a wide range of cultural activities.
What are the biggest challenges to face in a highly competitive market?
J: Maintain an impeccable product, that falls in love and impacts. That is why in Aruba we are betting more and more on the renewal and beautification of the island, on the protection of natural resources. We also keep focusing on certifications on tourist service since almost 98% of the population has contact or relationship with tourism.
How do you think the tourism sector in the region will evolve in a few years?
J: I think it's on track to have a base of tourists that repeat. It is becoming increasingly difficult to have loyal customers at all levels. Aruba has an important repeater base of almost 45%, for this reason our challenge will be to fall in love with that 65% of first-time visitors, so they can return to our happy island.