On a continuous basis, the Aruba Tourism Authority (A.T.A.) records and analyzes statistics related to our tourism industry and reports on them. Due to the end-of-2018 upgrade of the RADEX system, which registers all visitors who enter and leave Aruba, there was an unexpected delay with the reporting of the monthly figures. As a result, all the 2018 stay-over tourism figures were ready by the end of April. However, A.T.A. is making sure that soon the monthly figures will be published every month as usual.
The following is an elaboration on stay-over tourism, cruise tourism, and general tourism entrance (tourism credits) for 2018. A.T.A. is pleased to announce that they exceeded most of their growth targets they set last year.
In the course of 2018, Aruba welcomed a total of 1,082,003 stay-over visitors, which is 1.1% more compared to the year 2017. This includes the Venezuelan market.
The total number of visitors from the North American continent was 792,904, an increase of 6.7%, equivalent to 50,020 additional visitors in 2018. North America dominates the tourism market for Aruba, accounting for 73.3% of all the visitors to our destination during the year 2018.
Last year, Latin America brought a total of 164,085 visitors to Aruba, which is a drop of 19.1% (38,691 fewer visitors) compared to 2017. This is due to a 47.7% drop in the Venezuelan market. In 2018, the Latin American continent brought 15.2% of the total tourism for our island.
From Europe, we received a total of 89,747 visitors in the course of 2018, reflecting a 1% decrease (902 fewer European tourists) compared to 2017. Europe represented 8.3% of the total visitors to Aruba during 2018.
North American Stay-Over Tourism (United States and Canada)
The United States remains as the main tourism market in 2018, with a total of 742,016 visitors to Aruba, increasing the market share by 6.7%, equivalent to 46,298 additional tourists, demonstrating strong growth in 2018. In 2018, Canada secured 50,888 stay-over visitors, reflecting a growth of 7.9%, or 3,722 more Canadian tourists who visited our island.
Latin American Stay-Over Tourism
This market continues to see the impact of Venezuela. However, diversification for the other countries resulted in growth in markets such as Colombia (a growth of 11.1%, equivalent to 3,681 visitors) and Chile (a growth of 12%, equivalent to 1,206 visitors). With the exception of Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, all the countries of Latin America increased the number of visitors to our island during 2018.
European Stay-Over Tourism
Distance continues to be an important role for the market furthest from Aruba, but on the other hand, the European tourist stays more nights on our island. The Netherlands brought a total of 40,231 visitors to our island, which is an increase of 8% (2,986 more visitors in total). Italy brought 10,071 tourists, which is an increase of 2,183 visitors (+27.7%). The United Kingdom brought 10,546 visitors to our island, a drop of 45.1% (18,655 fewer visitors to our island), this in connection with the operation of one less charter from England.
A.T.A. and Aruba Ports Authority are satisfied to remark that this market is experiencing a continuous and stable increase. In 2018, Aruba received 815,161 cruise passengers from 334 different ships, which is equivalent to a 2.9% increase in passenger numbers compared to 2017. Aruba received 18 fewer ships (-5.1%) during 2018 compared to 2017. Clearly, cruise ships nowadays are bigger and can carry more passengers. (Source: Aruba Ports Authority)
According to the Central Bank of Aruba, the so-called tourism credits for the year 2018 experienced an increase of 8.2% compared to the same season in 2017. It is important to mention that the Central Bank of Aruba, in its new presentation of balance of payments (2018), reclassified terminologies: tourism receipts are now called tourism credits. (Source: Central Bank of Aruba)
Aruba’s tourism successfully surpassed registered results for 2017 in the areas of tourism credits, RevPAR, and cruise tourism. The two main indicators of tourism strength, the RevPAR and tourism credits, showed strong growth in 2018 compared to 2017. The A.T.A. is pleased with the strategic efforts made together with key partners, among others, Government of Aruba, AAA, APA, AHATA, and ATSA. These efforts clearly paid off.
The A.T.A. encourages the island of Aruba to continue working hard to make 2019 another successful year.q