ORANJESTAD, November 15, 2006 – “We have a passion for Aruba that is unique. We love the climate and the people and want nothing more than to keep coming back to the island as we have been doing for many years,” comments longtime timeshare owner Joe Caggiano, chairman of the Playa Linda Beach Resort Cooperative Association and a twenty year visitor who was recently named a Goodwill Ambassador of Aruba. Timeshare owners, worried in particular about new admission requirements (LTU) and the turnover tax (BBO) which could potentially alter their travel plans, recently aired their concerns during a press conference organized by the Aruba Timeshare Association (ATSA), on behalf of the island’s 15 timeshare homeowners associations, and held at the La Cabana Beach & Racquet Club on Wednesday.
Mr. & Mrs. Ellafrits, who are staunch supporters of Aruba, having visited the island every year for nearly 30 years, were among the first visitors to be approached with new admission policy, and told by immigration that they could no longer vacation on Aruba for longer than 30 days without applying to do so. After spending hours at DIMAS only to receive forms written in Dutch and to be told no one at DIMAS could help them fill out the documents has left the Ellafrits uncertain as to their next step. “We love Aruba and have our own extended family of friends here. It has always been like home for us, but now we feel worried about whether we will be able to stay and vacation here,” explains Mrs. Ellafrits.
Bob Rutherford, a board member of the Playa Linda Beach Resort Cooperative Association, sees further problems brought on by the forthcoming turnover tax. “For timeshare, the cost of doing business is already high. We are faced with ever increasing maintenance fees as a result of factors including rising utility costs and now costs will substantially increase even more with the new tax. …Aruba is becoming an expensive destination in comparison with other Caribbean islands,” he remarks.