First Tourism Then Food

GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT. I got some mail, from industry friends: My sales manager just got back from attending Delta Vacations and The Mark Travel conferences, two of Aruba’s major wholesalers where they have their top travel agents attend to meet with suppliers. Approx.  500 agents attended each show held in two different cities. By far and away the single most requested item at the conference among the 1,000 agents was “all-inclusive hotel packages” and not necessarily from 3 star properties, but looking for 4 and 4 ½ AI accommodations. With Aruba’s declining arrivals entering into its sixth month this year and our US market up a meager 1% year to date, how is our enterprising MinTour and dynamic ATA going to stop the bleeding without being able to meet this “low hanging fruit” demand without any additional AI product or AI product in the pipeline? End of mail.

That said, the preliminary September results were just published and the average room occupancy was up by 8.8 percentage points from 71.1% in September 2015 to 79.9% in September 2016, and the overall number of available room nights increased by 1.3%. This was due to the addition of 60 rooms to the Divi All Inclusive resort which became operational during February 2016. The total number of occupied room nights increased by 13.4%. This was due to the general increase in demand as well as the addition of 60 rooms to the Divi Tamarijn/Divi All Inclusive, while the overall Average Daily Rate was down by 0.8% from $176.04 in September 2015 to $174.57 in September 2016, with the higher average occupancies but lower Average Daily Rate, revenue per occupied room increased by 11.4% from $125.25 in September 2015 to $139.48 in September 2016. (Source AHATA- ATA)

MOUSTACHEF IN HAVENSTRAAT, NOW OPEN. I stopped at Moustachef for a soup-to-go this week. It was a delicious Cauliflower Cream, compliments to the chef. Moustachef is located where the Chez Mathilde kitchen once stood, adjacent to the charming Cunucu House now home to Optica Kok. The tiny bistro is wedged between sunglasses and electronics — the optica and Boolchand’s emporium — and serves local and international cuisine, with easy parking just across the street. Patrons may sit inside in air-condition or in the open air foyer. Moustachef serves lunch and drinks and coffee, and will pack everything to go! They cater, they deliver, they take reservations and they welcome walk-in. Very flexible indeed.

The restaurant features a buffet of local specialties every day, and the day I was there I noticed everything from Stoba to Funchi, looking at me temptingly. Moustachef, Havenstraat 23 L2, Oranjestad, Aruba Tel.: 583 2433.

I found two well known local personalities, at Moustachef, talented singer Edjean Semeleer and F&B professional Arthur Loefstok. This is not their first collaboration. They tried before when they opened O restaurant, at Paseo Herencia, which got over their heads. The place was just too big, too inaccessible and too complicated to run. But the two entrepreneurs did not give up, they relocated their business to town, and I think they have a good formula this time.

The café interior is charming, and the wait staff very accommodation and sweet. Arthur says he wanted to call the place Eatopia, but then opted for the whimsical Moustachef!