ECO Celebrates 20 Years

Wichita & Magali

Eco Destination Management celebrated two decades on the island, with founder Wichita Villacres, owner and C.E.O., orchestrating a day of festivities for her staff members. Wichita started her career in the worldwide shipping industry and moved to Aruba in 1982. She saw the need for a destination management company here and with that in mind, she taught herself the business, and by 1987, founded Eco Destination Management Services.

In 1992, she was named ‘Woman of the Year,’ for her contributions to making the island a true meeting and incentive destination, a market which had never been fully realized before her efforts.

In her quest to explore the possibilities for Aruba, she was recognized in 1990 for her creativity by the Society of Incentive Travel Executives, SITE, with two Crystal Awards. One for organizing legendary Arubadam, a street carnival party, in the heart of Oranjestad and for flawless handling of a 5-night incentive program, for an oversize group. In addition to her involvement with her business and her family, Wichita is always up to her neck with the community, working in a number of organizations on the betterment of the industry and the island.

She was a board member of the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association, AHATA; a director of the Society of Incentive Travel Executives, SITE, Caribbean Chapter; President and founder of the Aruba Tourism Scholarship and Awards Foundation; member of Meeting Professionals International, MPI, and member of International Special Event Society, ISES, as well as member of Association of Destination Management Executives, and the SKAL Club, which she recently rejoined, in Miami.

In 2002, Wichita purchased the South East Florida Destination Management Franchise from PRA Destination Management, and by 2006 not only surpassed their yearly goals but also grew in leaps and bounds and became well established within the Florida community. Hard working, driven and fun, Wichita is an inspiration to those that meet and work with her, she always strives to become the best at whatever she sets out to do. True to her credo “there is no mountain too high to climb,” it is always entertaining to watch her operate!