ATSA celebrates the New Year

Traditionally, members of the Aruba Time Share Association get together in the New Year for a social affair, which Andy Osborne, the current President of the association aptly described as: A wonderful evening of laughter and camaraderie! Jan Van Nes organized the get-together at the Old Man & the Sea, in Savaneta last night and association members showed up with their spouses for cocktails and dinner, and a tour of the spectacular beach side location.

You should know that the island is blessed with two hotel associations, AHATA, the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association, representing 4,848 rooms, and ATSA, the Aruba Time Share Association, representing 4,700 rooms, both associations are active and viable. AHATA, however is louder, and keeps a higher profile, as the organization’s CEO is the chosen one, attending meetings with the government, the chamber of commerce and the industry & trade associations, lobbying and networking on behalf of the hotels. ATSA is a more introvert organization naturally, timeshare travelers – god bless every one of them by virtue of being loyal to Aruba, year in and year out – are perhaps an older and more settled demographic which knows the island very well, while transient guests, many of them first-timers, staying at the AHATA hotels, are a trendier, younger, more stressed out and extrovert clientele. Fact is, the equally important associations are different in temperament, and deal with different issues. Did you know that some ATSA members are also AHATA members? For example La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino and Divi Resorts, belong to both organizations, paying double dues, hosting both timeshare and transient guests.

During dinner, Osborne, sporting an elegant long-sleeved shirt imprinted with a weed of wisdom floral motif, thanked ATSA members for their many contributions and outlined the association’s wish list for the coming year including stepped up collaboration with the local hospitality schools, such as EPB, and the University of Aruba, and more contact with the Aruba Tourism Authority and its sister association AHATA. He promised to also explore the possibility of active inclusion in ARDA, a trade association representing vacation ownership and resort development industries in the Caribbean, so that ATSA could become involved and informed regionally.

We enjoyed the company of Andy Osborne & Freddy Albertus, Paradise Beach Villas, Ursel Arends, La Quinta, Bettina Gonzelez, Marriott Vacation Club, Luigi Heredia, Costa Linda, Farida Mansur, Aruba Beach Club, Astrid Muller, Caribbean Palm Village Resort, Erwin Noguera, Marriott Surf Club, publisher Tina Bislick and Jan Van Nes, Blue Residence, with partners or spouses, and missed those who couldn’t make it.

The Old Man & The Sea is no longer operating as a restaurant. It is open however for special events and group functions. Owner Osyth Henriquez is presently completing five cabanas in the spectacular beach side setting. The cabanas with glass walls under thatched roofs are very tastefully decorated, and can be rented for a Bohemian chic, barefoot beach vacation, with elegant toilets and showers under the stars. The setting inspired Osborne to become poetic: It’s a beautiful spot. It’s simple – and made us remember that some of the most beautiful things are incredibly simple by nature – and just to be barefoot with sand between our toes is another reminder of simplicity and relaxation at its best … something we often forget to do as we get caught up with the fast pace of our careers and family obligations etc. Sometimes we just need to take some time for ourselves and enjoy the simple things of life. AMEN.