Compared to 2019, tourism recovered 72% in 2021, making 2021 a pretty good year for tourism. The chart illustrates the number of visitors per month during 2021. One of the important indicators is the tourism receipt. This is the money spent in the local economy by the visitors. The tourism receipt for 2021 surpassed the one of 2019, meaning that we had fewer visitors indeed, but they spent more than those in 2019.
Cruise tourism remains affected by the pandemic. It was not until 2021 that we saw the first Cruise ship in Aruba. This industry started slowly but is gradually moving forward.
In December 2021, 48,209 cruise passengers visited Aruba compared to 126,452 visitors in December 2019. It entails a 61,9% decline in cruise tourism. The number of calls was 35 in December compared to 50 calls in December 2019.
In 2021, Aruba received 136,211 cruise ship visitors compared to 832,399 in 2019, which is an 85% decline. In 2021, there were 96 calls compared to the 324 calls in 2019, a drop of 70,4%. The latest reduction in tourism is due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. In the first week of 2022, Aruba registered a decrease of 25% to 30% in visitors. Airlines like Frontier Airlines and Air Canada have also suspended their flights to Aruba. There have also been large-scale cancelations of incentive groups.
Originally a 100% recovery was projected for tourism in 2022 compared to 2019. However, due to the current situation, it was adjusted to a projected recovery of 85%. According to the Minister, Omicron was the culprit of the decrease in the outlook, but we still have time to recover from this setback. We can still achieve this by taking the proper steps and calculating risks as we all depend on tourism.