Say NO! to the Ritz Carlton at Fisherman's Huts in Aruba
To the Members of Parliament of Aruba
The petition of the undersigned citizens and visitors of Aruba declares that the previous Government of Aruba, in particular the ex-Minister of Infrastructure, on her last day in office on 29 October, 2009, had her representative sign a notary deed to grant 45,000 square meters of lease land to Desarrollos Hotelco with the expressed purpose of building a 320-room Ritz Carlton at the beach area known as Fisherman's Huts.
This property was granted without fulfilling all the necessary requirements. Some of these requirements included but are not limited to, a complete EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), a SEIA (Social Economic Impact Assessment).
Desarrollos Hotelco submitted an EIA which consisted of only a reference to an existing Executive Summary, which was originally prepared by Edminsten & Associates and submitted by the previous developer, Bazarian Int'l Financial Assoc. in 2005.
This is unacceptable given the superficial analysis, outdated numbers, and biased assumptions. Desarrollos Hotelco to date never submitted a complete and independent EIA.
Desarrollos Hotelco submitted SEIA consisted of only a reference to an existing Executive Summary, which was originally prepared by KPMG and submitted by the previous developer, Bazarian Int'l Financial Assoc. in 2005. This is unacceptable. Desarrollos Hotelco to date never submitted a complete and independent EIA.
Furthermore, building of a hotel at the Fisherman's Huts will have detrimental effects for the island and its population since the disadvantages by far outweigh the advantages:
Each additional hotel room built will require at least 4 additional workers, which will result in an addition of 1,280 people. Furthermore, no provisions have been made to develop a high quality and productive labor market.
1. Infrastructural Effects: more cars, more traffic, congestion, crowding and displacement. Architecturally, the new non-green design, and the relocation of the road through local wetlands, will cause a decline in environmental health.
2. Business-Economic Effects: expanding the current room inventory will cause a negative spiral effect in terms of more rooms, lower occupancy rates in the industry and subsequent decline in industry rates and revenues. In terms of product planning and market development, there is a current void in positioning Aruba as an exclusive destination.
3. Environmental Effects: Fisherman's Huts is the exclusive nesting place in Aruba for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle, the area from the Marriott all the way to Malmok (and beyond) is known to have Indian archaeological deposits which are a valuable, fragile and limited cultural resource.
All independent studies and advices support the view that the construction of additional hotels is undesirable and irresponsible as the island has surpassed its carrying capacity and is now experiencing the costs of diminishing economic returns, social stress, and environmental destruction, with irreversible effects on the quality of experience for visitors and the quality of life of residents.
1. Chamber of Commerce & Industry - "Vision pa Gobernacion 2009-2013" dated May 2009
2. Wild Aruba
3. Nos Aruba 2025 - read full report
4. Sam Cole
5. University of Aruba, Strategic Tourism Action Plan 2007
6. University of Aruba, Nos Turismo di Manjan, Community analysis, 2009
7. University of Aruba, Tourism Intelligence Briefing, 2008
Considering the foregoing, we the undersigned petition this grant to be revoked. Therefore we strenuously petition the Prime Minister, the Ministers as well as the Members of Aruba’s Parliament to revoke the right to long lease land of Desarrollos Hotelco for the building of a Ritz Carlton, so that Fisherman's Huts can remain as one of the last undeveloped public beaches of Aruba. In addition, we petition a destination wide comprehensive assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts of future tourism development and quality diversification.