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Aug 24, 2016

Aruba and World Tourism Organization of the United Nations Define “Happiness” through International Tourism Conference

Aruba and World Tourism Organization of the United Nations Define “Happiness” through International Tourism Conference

Inspired by the relationship between happiness, culture and tourism, the One happy island of Aruba reveals the official program for Happiness 360 Conference – an international symposium hosted in partnership with the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations (UNWTO), Sept. 13-14. 

Trending TED Talk speaker Dr. Robert Waldinger of Harvard University will explain how his team’s 75-year happiness study translates to the tourism industry, while the country of Bhutan shares its happiness success story and a leading U.S. research institute reveals the results to Aruba’s ongoing study on happiness. Southwest Airlines, Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, Avant-Guide Institute and other prominent organizations will also exemplify the role “happiness” plays across their respective industries. 

“As the No. 2 most tourism-reliant nation in the world, Aruba views ‘happiness’ as more than a brand slogan. It’s an inherit part of our island’s DNA – and is as essential to the Aruba tourism experience as our local culture and sustainability achievements,” said Otmar Oduber, Minister of Tourism, Transportation and Primary Sector and Culture. “It’s a great responsibility and honor to host international tourism leaders, university researchers and trends experts to showcase how these key niches are connected on a worldwide level.”


Final program includes:

  • Best Things in Life Aren’t Things: Tourism as Gateway to Happiness
    • Speaker: Dr. Robert Waldinger, Harvard University
  • Air Travel Outlook & Trends: Southwest Airlines History of Success and How Hospitality (Happiness) Plays a Vital Role in Future Success
    • Speaker: Evan Berg, Sr. Manager of International Planning, Southwest Airlines
  • Happiness Success Story of Bhutan
    • Speakers:
      • Sonam Dorji, Executive Director of the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators
      • Norby Wangchuck, Gross National Happiness Commission Bhutan
  • Aruba Happiness Index: Results of the 2016 Study 
    • Speaker: Robertico Croes, Associate Director of Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies at University of Central Florida
  • The Happiness Trend is your Friend
    • Speaker: Daniel Levine, Global Trends Expert of Avant-Guide Institute
  • Cruising to Happiness
    • Speaker: Michele Paige, Florida Caribbean Cruise Association
  • Increase Competitiveness through Cultural Tourism
    • Speaker: Richenel Ansano, Director at National Archaeological Anthropological Memory Management
  • New Business Models
    • Speaker: April Rinne, Global Authority on the Sharing Economy
  • Cultural and Natural Global Protection
    • Speaker: Dr. Anne-Catherine Robert-Hauglustaine, ICOM
  • Creative Tourism: Caribbean Destinations on Leveraging Creative Industries
    • Speaker: Dr. Keith Nurse, Senior Research Fellow of Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social & Economic Studies
  • Remarks on Tourism, Sustainability and Culture
    • Speakers: Secretary General UNWTO Taleb Rifai, Prime Minister of Aruba Mike Eman, Minister of Tourism, Transport, Primary Sector and Culture of Aruba Otmar Oduber and CEO of the Aruba Tourism Authority Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes

“Tourism builds bridges among people and can be a catalyst for positive change. UNWTO is pleased to partner with Aruba in organizing this event. We trust it will be an excellent occasion to discuss how tourism can be a driver of a more sustainable future for all,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. 

Happiness 360 Conference will primarily target international Ministries of Tourism and Ministries of Culture, National Tourism Organizations (NTOS), Destinations Management Organizations (DMOs), cultural and heritage managers, conservation experts and media.

“It’s our responsibility as leaders to stay attuned to industry trends and consistently evaluate our own destination’s level of innovation and creativity,” said Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, CEO of Aruba Tourism Authority. “We’re confident and proud of the dynamic program we’ve developed in partnership with the UNWTO.”

*Visit for more information and stay connected to the conference, Sept. 13-14, via social media #happinessaruba


The World Tourism Organization (UNTWO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. UNTWO’s membership includes 157 countries, 6 Associate Members and over 500 Affiliate Members.

For more information:  Sjeidy Feliciano /

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