Balkenende during the Ernst & Young “Young Entrepreneurs” Event: Aruba's decision to profile itself as a sustainable island offers many opportunities PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 February 2013 19:56
“Aruba is the island of tourism, and the refinery, but I think that it is good to look as well into other activities which help build a very strong economic profile," said Prof. Jan Peter Balkenende. He underlined that it is of great importance that Aruba has a profile describing its goals for economic development.
The choice of Aruba for the theme sustainability and to profile itself as a sustainable island offers the island also many opportunities, according to Balkenende. Sustainability can be connected to tourism, but for example also to the financial sector, to innovation, to technology, the former Dutch prime minister explained. The research he collaborated on shows that there are many opportunities for Aruba, which means that the island must focus on what it wants to achieve. In other words, concerted actions are necessary to ensure that the necessary knowledge is generated. Knowledge in the areas of tourism and sustainability has to be increased, and Balkenende mentions that it is therefore of importance to establish ties with centers of expertise such as universities and businesses. An institute such as TNO for example, which has been active on Aruba with clear goals for some time in the area of research, is therefore also very important. Liaisons with countries such as Brazil, where much work is being done in the area of sustainability, are important. Aruba has to consider where the island can work together with other countries. Balkenende stated that Aruba has a well-defined profile with which it can assume an important position in the region. Aruba will not be able to function that easily as a transit port, but will be able to excel in certain areas, for example in the area of sustainability. Sustainability can be brought into action in tourism. And thus this specific connection can make Aruba more interesting to the countries in the region, said Balkenende. In regards to the completed research, Balkenende explains that the refinery is always dependent on a foreign investor and thus it is so important to seek other economic pillars in addition to tourism and the refinery. During the research process the different prospects that could serve to diversify the economy of Aruba and so strengthen the economic future of Aruba, were considered. Balkenende sees opportunities for this since Aruba has a good profile, and a good foundation.
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