One of Aruba’s goals is to become the first country in the world to operate fossil-free by 2020. Aruba has been named one of five winners in National Geographic’s World Legacy Awards in March 2015, a competition aimed at directing attention to the globetrotters driving change in the travel industry. The World Legacy Awards received over 100 entries for the first time this year from hotels, ecolodges and organisations from 56 countries competing for one of the titles: the Caribbean island of Aruba won the title of Destination Leadership. The prize was awarded Thursday in Berlin at the International Tourism Fair ITB, considered to be the world’s largest tourism convention. The new title as well as the green energy initiative may gain even more tourism and publicity for the island in the near future.
In recent years, Aruba has established itself as an eco-tourism destination by actively encouraging the use of renewable energy through wind farms, an airport solar park, waste-to-energy plant and certain communities.In 2012, Aruba partnered with Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room, founded to improve the circumstances of climate change, and other institutions such as Harvard University.
Aruba eco-tourism activities are ideal alternatives for those who want to extend beyond the traditional ways to discover an island’s hidden secrets. Eco adventurers may also enjoy all the animals at the Butterfly Farm, Ostrich Farm and Donkey Sanctuary.
Humans and nature have lived with one another on Aruba for more than four centuries. In downtown Oranjestad, the new National Archaeological Museum of Aruba is a popular place to visit as three periods of Amerindian habitation of Aruba are documented in their collections. Along the Sasakiweg street may be where most tourists prefer to stroll and shop while looking at the cruise ships that bring more and more external tourism into the island everyday.
Arikok National Park, the main eco-tourist site in Aruba, covers almost 20 percent of the island and has been claimed to be an “environmental sanctuary” since the 1980s. In order to provide visitors the chance to explore the park while leaving minimal footprints, the government of Aruba has sectioned it into four specific areas, with the central zone as the main destination for eco-tourism. Visitors may learn more about historical, cultural, and natural landmarks at education centres throughout the zone. Both the north and south zones are highly sensitive and have been reserved mainly for research. Hikers and horseback riders may trek over twenty rugged miles of trails in the park, allowing eco-explorers to see caves ( bat colonies and ancient Arawak cave paintings), lava formations, historical old gold mines, and various native wildlife species, such as the Aruban parakeet, burrowing owl, whiptail lizard, and the Baker’s cat-eyed snake.
“Green” hotels such as the Manchebo Beach Resort inculcate environmentally-conservative concepts which aim to save water and energy, as well as reduce solid waste while simultaneously saving money. Of all of the Caribbean islands, Aruba statistically has the best history of safety during tropical storms and hurricanes. Only as few as 6 have reached 62 miles, or closer since 1877.
Aruba’s official motto is “One happy island!” plastered on each taxi’s license plate, yet the locals take it to heart with their welcoming atmosphere and friendly attitudes. With its diverse geographical state and outdoor attractions, this southern Caribbean island may do more for its visitors than entertain them.
How might the World Legacy Awards promote Aruba’s green energy initiative?