On January 1, Aruba will launch a new era in international tourism marketing as the Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) becomes reorganized and privatized.
At its helm, and reflecting a dynamic, youthful energy for the organization, will be ATA’s first CEO, Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, an Aruban native and former director of the Tourism Corporation Bonaire.
Two years in the planning, the reorganization of ATA was, in 2009, the inspiration of Minister of Tourism, Transportation & Labour, Otmar O. Oduber who envisioned an independent organization free of government bureaucracy and with access to independent marketing funds that could best take on the challenges of further developing the tourism sector of the Aruban economy.
As part of the reorganization, an independent Aruba Tourism Marketing Fund (ATMF) with private sector representation was created in which existing funds were enhanced by a 2.5-percent increase in the country’s hotel room tax.
Essential to ATA’s success going forward was the selection of a strong, capable and highly motivated leader. In naming Tjin Asjoe-Croes Asjoe-Croes, Oduber said that Aruba had found the very best candidate for the challenging position of ATA’s first CEO.
As CEO, Tjin Asjoe-Croes will lead the executive management and employee teams, oversee budgets, develop marketing programs in all major markets, manage overseas offices and work with local government and the private sector to demonstrate the value and importance of tourism as a driver of the economy.
Educated in Aruba and the Netherlands, Tjin Asjoe-Croes worked in marketing for the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association (AHATA) before being named director of tourism for the Tourism Corporation Bonaire. There she was successful in increasing airlift to the island from key international markets, achieved a record number of inbound arrivals with a 17-percent growth, and increased cruise tourism arrivals from 50,000 to 250,000 annually.
She also developed a global branding strategy for Bonaire, launched a new website in three languages and created online and social media marketing strategies. Her responsibilities included operations, marketing, airline and cruise line negotiations, financial management, public relations and managing overseas offices. She also developed a free program to heighten awareness among island residents of the importance of hospitality and tourism.
In addition to serving as director of tourism for Bonaire, Tjin Asjoe-Croes has been active in other organizations, including as a member of the Aruba Junior Chamber (JCI) and others focused on nature and culture management. She’s also lead and functioned on numerous committees.