Ursell Arends, the President of ATSA, the Aruba Timeshare Association recently spoke at the University of Aruba to a mixed audience of students and industry executives, on the occasion of timeshare celebrating 40 years in Aruba.
Arends explained that his intention was to inspire the University students and convey the message that the Vacation Ownership industry offers solid opportunity in hospitality.
This evening at the University was to share the result of a study undertaken by group of students from the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies. The students worked diligently in researching and interviewing numerous timeshare owners and guests and documented feedback with regard to their spending patterns and reasons for repeatedly returning to Aruba.
The study was made possible with the support of Jo-Anne Croes and Dean John Wardlaw, of UA and Professor Robin B. DiPietro of the University of South Carolina, who made the results of the study available. Professor DiPietro analyzed and collated the data gathered to prepare a report and the results conclusively confirm that the timeshare component has a very significantly positive impact on Aruba’s economy.
ATSA is very much aware of its importance, and it is for this reason in 2017, it spearheaded the survey in collaboration with the University of Aruba and Aruba Tourism Authority. The goal was to precisely determine the impact of timeshare on the island’s economy.
The Aruba Timeshare Association General Managers collaborated greatly and asked their members and guests to be interviewed for the survey, providing valuable information to the University of Aruba students in accumulating the data that generated this report.
Vacation Ownership, formerly known as the timesharing industry celebrated its 40th anniversary of activity on the island during 2017. Vacation Ownership in Aruba consists of approximately forty (40) percent of our total hotel accommodation inventory and in 2017, celebrated forty (40) years of existence. Thanks to loyal owners, the sustained year-round high occupancies of the sixteen (16) timeshare Resorts on the island is the envy of many Caribbean competitors and ATSA believes that an updated study should be conducted at least every three (3) years because of changing patterns and the ever-shifting trends of the industry.
During 2017, which was a very positive year for the association, ATSA continued to forge forwards by implementing high-level strategies that ensure ATSA’s relevant, vibrant and sustainable position into the future, remaining the voice of the Vacation Ownership Industry.
About Membership Growth
Last year, the Association started the process to modify its bylaws to include condominium complexes operated by Owners’ Associations. As anchored by law, once a complex is more than 50% sold, the Owners’ Association takes over the management of the complex and such a change in ATSA’s bylaws will facilitate membership for a number of successful condo developments.
In Protection of Work Ethics
In collaboration with the vast majority of its members, ATSA is committed to the support of the highest standards and ethical conduct in the Vacation Ownership industry. To demonstrate this commitment, the Association has adopted a formal Ethics Policy.
ATSA’s Community Projects
On Thanksgiving Day, the ATSA made its commitment to support Red Cross Aruba official. The red Cross organization has just celebrated its 60th anniversary providing humanitarian assistance to the local community and their response to disaster and swift action to alleviate human suffering in vulnerable communities, is now fully endorsed by ATSA.
Additionally, this past summer, ATSA signed a 5-year commitment with youth soccer on the island when it became the proud sponsor of SV Britannia. ATSA recognizes the dedication of SV Britannia, and its investment in the youth. ATSA is prepared to assist the club in overcoming future challenges.
Most importantly, in 2018, ATSA will be developing a business case with CEDE ARUBA for Individual Giving Based Fundraising. Following an exploratory online survey among its members it became clear that an “Individual Giving Based Fundraising,” is possible among ATSA members and, after a small team of professionals was put together, the majority of members confirmed their commitment to participate as early as March 2018. Instead of opening the fundraising drives up to applications from different organizations, ATSA and CEDE will collaborate to ensure the funds go where they are really needed. One area that is being considered is the After School Programs for kids over 12 years of age. Other areas include affordable, quality childcare. ATSA and CEDE Aruba are planning to develop a number of programs together with relevant NGOs.
Arends reported that the 40-year-old industry must continuously reinvent itself in order to continue successfully for at least another 40 years. The new generation of owners is different from the original one, and their needs must be met with fresh products and novel services.
Recently, during the Second Academic Economic Forum hosted at the University of Aruba, Dean Wardlaw revealed that a research among university students confirmed that just 10% of them are willing to work for tourism, because of the long hours, including weekends and holidays.
Arends stated that as the future of the industry, he wanted to share his own personal story with the UA students. In his own words, he got involved with ATSA when he heard some of the industry pioneers speak about the need to recruit young professionals to join the Association and bring fresh ideas. He was sure they were talking to him on January 16th, 2016 at ATSA’s New Year’s celebration where he was representing his employer, La Quinta Beach Resort.
The following day he signed up as the new kid on the block, and started recognizing the sacrifices endured by his role models, the industry pioneers, and the efforts they undertook in order to make this industry as vibrant as it is today, a solid foundation that continuously requires young people and fresh ideas.
“I hope that all of you who are on the brink of doing extraordinary things decide to channel your curiosity, talent, energy and creativity, figuring out how to innovate this 40-year-old industry in order to go strong for another 40 years,” he concluded, adding, ”I am confident that you will take up that challenge, the industry is waiting for you, ready to be innovated and maintain its relevance for another forty (40) glorious years.”