Now that we’ve had a chance to catch our breath here at ECO DMS after an eventful and intensely active year in 2017, we’d like to take you on a short journey to look back at the 30th anniversary celebration we held in December. It was a 4-day extravaganza that brought together lots of people that have all played a role in helping us become the incredibly successful destination management company that we are today. Enjoy the ride!
Welcoming Arrivals to the 30th Anniversary Celebration
For this 4-day spectacular celebration from December 10-14, we invited a select group of 30 international clients to experience One Happy Island at its best. The goal of this event was to really showcase Aruba as a premier destination these clients will want to keep visiting again and again – and tell all their other business associates about us and our beautiful island! We collected all the arrivals at the Queen Beatrix International Airport and took them to their accommodations so they could relax for a while after their journey to get here. After all, we knew we had LOTS of great activities planned for them!
Beach-Chic Dinner at Hyatt Regency
Our first big event for this group the evening Sunday December 10 was a beach-chic dinner in the sand at the Hyatt Regency, complete with specially invited performers including traditional Aruban dancers, as well as a local drum corps marching band with lots of Carnival participants adorned in their outrageous and festive Carnival costumes. We love bringing the spirit of Carnival into private events, and this one turned out to be a smashing success! It was the perfect beginning to our 30th anniversary celebration.
Next on the agenda was an amazing adventure bumping and rolling through the rocky landscapes of Arikok National Park on a UTV Adventure where guests had the opportunity to drive their own utility task vehicle to Aruba’s wilder side. Our trusted partner vendor for UTV excursions is Fofoti Tours & Transfers. They do a fantastic job with their robust fleet of UTVs, expert guides, and making sure everyone has the eye protection and bandanas they need on this kind of adventure, not to mention keeping us supplied with ice-cold water and granola bars to keep us going!
Our 30th anniversary celebration continued with a lovely and festive dinner at a private esidence called CasdiWichi, in the traditional Cunucu style seen around the island. We also enjoyed getting a lesson in Aruban cooking from the chef as he worked on the meal we would later enjoy!
An Educational Component to the 30th Anniversary Celebration
We also held an important educational event in conjunction with the University of Aruba, where our visitors and university students met with local tourism partners to discuss the trends of the last 30 years and upcoming developments that will affect the future of the island’s critical tourism industry. ECO DMS is always looking out for the next generation of tourism leaders to keep Aruba at the top of the agenda for MICE travelers from around the world.
Luxury Sail Ship, Snorkel and Kayak Tour
Ready for some more action, our merry band went on the quintessential sailing vessel for cruising around the island – a Luxury Sail Ship! And when we got to the right spot, those who wanted to had the opportunity to swim, snorkel or kayak in the sparkling blue waters of the Caribbean sea
Dinner at the Hilton
When it was time for another fabulous dinner, we took advantage of the excellent facilities at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, and wowed our guests with an amazing performance by a highly-skilled group of synchronized swimmers.
Black Tie Affair at the Renaissance
The last program day was dedicated to a meeting with Aruba Government officials including the New Minister of Tourism, Mr. Danguillami Oduber, and a formal 30th anniversary recognition and celebration event at the Renaissance Convention Center. This elegant affair was attended by and Aruba’s very first female Prime Minister, Mrs. Evelyna Cristina Wever Croes, who graciously made some opening remarks as well. For the black-tie gala at the Renaissance Convention Center, we called it a Caribbean Pearl Celebration, and it was a flawlessly orchestrated extravagant affair perfect for capping off our year-long 30th anniversary celebration.
In a heartwarming address bandleader Jairo Boekhoudt applauded Villacres for her special ability to recognize and identify local talent. He also complimented her for the top-notch organization she has created, capable of servicing the island’s most discerning visitors.
The highlight of the evening was an award presentation in which CEO Wichita Villacres and Managing Director Maoreen Every handed out attractive tokens of appreciation to a stellar list of MICE dignitaries: BI Worldwide, commemorating 27 years of collaboration; Maritz Travel, 25 years; Prestige Global Meeting Source, 25 years; One10Marketing, the former Carlson, 25 years; United Incentives, 24 years; Extraordinary Events, 24 years; Mark Bondy of Viktor Meetings & Incentives and former Successful Meetings & Incentives, 25 years; Ovation/MCI, 24 years; MotivAction, 23 years; Global Partners LLC, 25 years; Mary Pepe of HRG North America, 25 years; TR International, 15 years; Site, 28 years; Galactic, 17 years; FICP, 15 years; Gavel International, 10 years; Caren Bigelow of A-Plus Meetings & Incentives, 17 years; Pinnacle Meetings & Incentives, 7 years; Meridian Enterprises, 5 years; Select Marketing Group, 5 years; Growmark, 5 years; The Cypress Consultancy Group, 5 years, and Raymond James Financial, 5 years.
Representatives of local companies who serve as trusted ECO DMS partners also made a trip to the stage to collect their own awards, including Marketing Plus NV, Kukoo Kunuku Party Bus, Elite Production, Sunny Ray Entertainment, Fofoti Tours & Transfers, Action Tours, Pelican Watersports, Papiamento Restaurant, Hyatt Regency Aruba, Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Renaissance Aruba Resort, The Ritz-Carlton Aruba, and Hilton Aruba Resort.
The year of celebration ended with an emotional thank-you from Wichita, who expressed profound and heartfelt gratitude for the opportunities she has been given in Aruba. Sumptuous lobster and steak dinner, live entertainment, electrifying dance music, and bottomless flutes of bubbly befitting three tremendous decades of business success, concluded the unforgettable evening.
If you’d like your company’s MICE Travelers to experience these kinds of action-packed itineraries in the tropical paradise of Aruba, contact ECO DMS and we’ll be happy to help you start planning!