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Aruba's new destination services unit hones in on the cruise experience

The cruise business is part of the ATA's new destination services unit. Mario Arends, left, continues as cruise manager and Patrick Melchiors, right, joined this year as destination services manager
The Aruba Tourism Authority's new destination services unit includes responsibility for managing, planning and delivering on matters that impact the cruise visitor experience.

Destination services manager Patrick Melchiors, who joined the ATA this year, brings marketing and management experience from the hotel food and beverage sector, with global brands including Heineken and Pepsi, and in event management.

Previous jobs were managing director/partner of The Marketing Department, Aruba, and gm roles with Clarex Paper Products, Pelican Adventures and Heineken Aruba.

At the recent Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Conference and Trade Show in Cozumel, Melchiors met with some of the top cruise line executives to affirm Aruba's interest in the business. He also got acquainted with stakeholders on the southern Caribbean route to establish common ground and for possible cooperation in developing the route and region. 

The creation of the destination services unit is part of the ATA's transition from a destination management organization into a destination marketing and management organization.

Within the new unit, Mario Arends, cruise manager since 2014, has a dozen years of experience at ATA in capacities including Latin American and North American marketing executive, and branding and advertising specialist. He shared responsibility for the development of a new brand identity for Aruba in 2009.

Arends and Melchiors told Seatrade Cruise News continued investments to enhance Oranjestad's cruise port with such projects as dredging and infrastructure improvements are key to growth.

The ATA remains focused on making the southern Caribbean route an attractive one to the cruise industry and developing products that entice ships to call at Aruba, Arends added. The ultimate objective, he said, is increasing visitors' on-island expenditure to maximize cruising's economic impact.