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Ewald Biemans, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts Founder & Environmentalist
A pioneer of the green movement in the Caribbean, Ewald Biemans has become known throughout the hospitality industry for his grassroots efforts promoting sustainable tourism. As the founder of Aruba’s Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, Ewald was one of the first to create a successful luxury resort with the environment in mind.
A Hands-On Hotelier
Born in Austria, Ewald began his career in hospitality at several upscale hotels in Venezuela. In the early 1970s, he fell in love with Aruba while on holiday and moved to the island to launch a restaurant and nightclub. Its overwhelming success led to the management of several other businesses, including a popular restaurant, two hotels and Aruba’s airline catering company.
After a hiatus to earn an international business degree from Florida State University, Ewald returned to Aruba to operate several Aruba Resorts. After helping the resorts regain profitability, he began the development of his own property, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts.
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts opened in 1987 to immediate praise, and quickly developed a loyal base of guests. In fact, the resort has maintained an enviable occupancy of 90 percent or above in the 22 years since its launch. The property’s success is partly attributed to Ewald’s hands-on approach. He makes himself accessible every day to chat one-on-one with guests. He also utilizes focus groups to help his department heads and associates fully understand what their contributions mean to guest satisfaction and repeat business.
He was recognized as “Aruba General Manager of the Year” in 1996 and again in 1999. In 2002, Ewald was named Caribbean Hotel Association Hotelier of the Year.
Environmental preservation is a longstanding passion of Ewald Biemans. Ewald has developed Bucuti into a model for other Caribbean hotels looking to go green, and he ensures that everyone – from the housekeeping team, to the guests, to the community – is involved in the process.
Here are just a few of his achievements:
- In the early 1990s, he created the Environmental Committee within the Aruba Tourism Association, organizing the public and private sector for the first time to reduce, reuse and recycle.
- In 1997, Bucuti won the Environmental Stewardship Award from CHA and American Express in the small hotel category. The following year, the resort was honored with the CHA Environmental Conservation Award and soon after became one of the first Green Globe members in the Caribbean.
- He founded Aruba’s “Sponsor a Mile” program, consisting of monthly beach and roadside cleanups. Working with CHA’s environmental arm, Ewald organizes local CAST events to help educate colleagues in the industry about environmental protection and preservation.
- Bucuti was the first resort in the Americas to achieve ISO 14001 certification and in the first group of resorts to become Green Globe 21. In 2000, Bucuti achieved the prestigious Green Globe 21 certification.
- Ewald was responsible for organizing a public demonstration on the main street, during which the environmental committee, community members, and school children delivered a mandate to the Prime Minister on environmental protection laws that laid out actions the government needed to take.
- In July 2009, Ewald was recognized Aruba Tourism Authority and the Radisson Resort Aruba where leaders of our community honored a handful of visionaries responsible for building Aruba as a tourism destination over the past 40 years.
- In 2015, Ewald was named "Green Hotelier of the Year" in Caribbean Travel Awards.
In the Community
He has a long history of community service in Aruba. His efforts in the 1970s included a radio talk show and TV program to promote tourism and keep the local population aware of industry happenings. In the 1980s, he created a popular island-wide national pride campaign called “Aruba T’ami,” a tourism awareness program for the local community, people of all ages came to understand that “Aruba is me.”
A member of the Aruba Hotel Association since 1980, Ewald has served for more than 15 years as a Board Member and 13 years as Treasurer, and most recently as Chairman. In addition, he has been a member of numerous committees, including the environmental committee, the airline committee, the familiarization trip committee, the European marketing committee and the government relations committee.
He is also a dynamic member of the Caribbean Hotel Association and has served as one of Aruba’s representatives on the board of CHA. A supporter of CHTI in Aruba, he regularly signs up members of his staff for professional development courses. He holds the record of having attended every CHIC and CHA Marketplace event for over 25 years.