Published On: Thu, Feb 18th, 2016

Aruba sweeps travel marketing awards season

ArubaORANJESTAD, Aruba -- While Hollywood's hottest celebrities dazzle as "lead actor" or "best new artist," Aruba stars as "best in show" for advertising and marketing this awards season – with achievements ranging from the most digitally-savvy island in the Caribbean to the most sustainable destination in the world.

"Receiving dozens of national and global awards for 2015 efforts alone, the entire island of Aruba is both humbled and inspired to continue our quest for innovation and creativity," said Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, CEO of Aruba Tourism Authority. "Now we're not only the sunniest and happiest island in the Caribbean, but also the most decorated."

Most recently, Aruba received a Platinum Adrian Award for its "One Happy Selfie" advertising campaign, honouring Travel Marketing Excellence under the authority of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).

"One Happy Selfie," a social media driven outdoor campaign targeting key Chicago market travellers, was one of only six Platinum awards in the advertising category, selected from more than 300 entries by a panel of industry experts.

Also recognized with a Silver award was Aruba's newest digital innovation, the Happiness Builder – a content-rich planning experience on where travelers can build and share their own custom video itinerary from more than 100 adventure, relaxation, romance and culture video vignettes.

Aruba's digital prowess has been an increasingly hot topic among industry leaders, as this small, but savvy island currently ranks the most popular digital destination in the Caribbean – according to Caribbean & Co., an expert source on Caribbean lifestyle and luxury brands.

Caribbean & Co. reports Aruba ranks number one of 35 Caribbean islands for overall "destination marketing index 2015" and number one of ten Caribbean islands for Instagram, boasting double the numbers of its runner up. The marketing index ranking was derived by a proprietary weighting of various data, including social media followings, website inbound links, third party rankings and more.

"Our commitment to strategic and savvy digital marketing directly impacts Aruba's GDP, which is more reliant on travel and tourism than any other nation, relative to size, in the world," said Asjoe-Croes. "Aruba's target audience visits more than 20 websites in their travel planning journey, so it's essential for us to be front and centre with relevant Aruba content at each stage."

Solidifying its positioning as the most innovative Destination Marketing and Management Organization (DMMO) in the Caribbean, the Aruba Tourism Authority clenched the "Best Tourism Board Overall" in this year's Travvy Awards, selected by nearly 40,000 travel agent voters, as well as a Bronze award for "Most Luxury Destination."

Specific recognition for the Aruba Tourism Authority is indicative of the dynamic approach ATA takes to marketing – with digital campaigns complemented by award-winning in-market media events and world-leading sustainability initiatives.

Travel Weekly's panel of industry experts recognized "Aruba Cultura," an immersive media experience in NYC showcasing Aruba's art, culture and cuisine, with a Gold Magellan Award. For the second consecutive year, Aruba received a Magellan Award for its sustainability initiatives.

Aruba's "Destination Leadership" in green energy also took first place on a global stage during the National Geographic Travel World Legacy Awards at ITB Berlin, the world's largest tourism convention. More than 150 award entries were received, representing 56 countries and six continents. Finalists in five categories were selected by an international team of 18 sustainable travel experts, who conducted thorough on-site inspections before choosing the winners in each category.

The global recognition continued with several digital engagement-driven TripAdvisor awards for the destination, beaches, restaurants and properties – including Aruba's adults-only Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort as both the number eight hotel in the world and number one hotel in the world for romance.

Once again, The Knot named Aruba one of the world's top 50 honeymoon destinations, based on editors' research and personal experiences.

"The variety of awards, coupled with Aruba's record-breaking tourism performance of more than a million stay-over visitors annually, proves the creative marketing and dedication of the government, ATA, industry partners and locals are successful in making Aruba one of the most desirable travel destinations in the world," said Otmar Oduber, Aruba's minister of tourism, transportation, primary sector and culture. "It's a true pleasure to see firsthand what our small island can accomplish."

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