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Aruba

Basic Information

Area: 193 km²

Calling code: +297

Population: 104,494 (CBS 2008 Report)

Official Language: Dutch, Papiamento

Time zone: AST (UTC-4), Local time: 06:25

Overview

The island of Aruba is an overseas territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is situated in the Caribbean Sea, approximately 25 kilometres to the north of Venezuela. The capital, Oranjestad, is located on the southern coast and is home to just under half of the island’s 70,000 strong population.

Aruba has its own democratically elected legislature and since 1986 has exercised full autonomy over its internal affairs, while Holland retains responsibility for the island’s defense and foreign affairs. The official language is Dutch, although Spanish and English are also widely spoken.

In recent decades the island has become a popular tourist destination and currently attracts in the region of 1 million tourists a year, with well over half of these visitors coming from North America. As such, the tourism industry has established itself as Aruba’s principal employer and foreign exchange earner. Oil refining, has also become a major source of foreign exchange earnings since the island’s oil refinery was reopened in 1993. Other important industries on Aruba include offshore financial services and manufactured exports.

The island has a well structured transport infrastructure that has benefited from considerable investment in recent years. Queen Beatrix International airport, which is located just to the east of the capital, caters for more than 200 flights a week, including daily filghts to major cities throughout Europe and North and South America. There are also 3 seaports capable of handling a wide variety of vessels and cargo.
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