by Jonathan Vatner | January 01, 2005
Last November, the Aruba Convention Bureau was on its last legs. The bureau’s director and assistant director had quietly left, and staff had been reduced to one salesperson working out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. But the ACB promises to be back on its feet in 2005 with a new name and a revamped operating strategy.
    The Aruba Meetings and Incentives Partnership will consist of salespeople based in the United States who will report to an island-based executive director and director of convention services.
    Formed as a collaboration between the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association and the Aruba Tourism Authority, the AMIP will be funded with a dedicated portion of the island’s hotel occupancy tax, beginning with $1.5 million in seed money. The old bureau was forced to rely entirely on the Ministry of Tourism for funding.
    In addition, the AIMP’s validity will be tied directly to its performance, to be measured by the number of bookings the bureau attracts to the island. “I’m not sure that was a focus of the old Aruba Convention Bureau,” said Jorge Pesquera, the new executive director of the AHATA.