The Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association moved quickly to fill the CEO post vacated by Jorge Pesquera, who was tapped to serve as president and CEO of the Palm Beach County (Fla.) Convention & Visitors Bureau, effective Nov. 1.

Rob Smith, currently general manager of the Westin Aruba Resort, will take over the top job at AHATA, effective Oct. 1.

Smith, who has been GM at the Westin since 1998, formerly served as vice president of Aruba Hotel Enterprises and general manager of the then-Wyndham property prior to its sale and reflagging as a Westin.

In making the announcement, Ewald Biemans, chairman of the board of the AHATA, said that "we are fortunate that Rob was willing and available to take on this most critical position and ensure continuity in the expanding role that AHATA has undertaken as it pertains to destination marketing, advocacy and member support services."

Biemans cited Smith's contributions to the AHATA, which include serving as chairman of the nominations committee since 2001, the CEO search committee in 2003, the Aruba Hospitality and Security Foundation from 2002 to 2006 and of AHATA's marketing committee this year. In addition, Smith is a member of the Aruba Strategic Communications Task Force and the AHATA board of directors.

Elsewhere, Smith has been a board member of the Caribbean Hotel Association since 2000, was recognized as hotelier of the year by the AHATA in 2005 and was nominated for the same award on a regional basis with the CHA.

In other AHATA news, Stephen Tipsword was named senior director of marketing for the association, responsible for overseeing its global marketing strategies, including Meet Aruba, the official group marketing division of the AHATA.

Tipsword, who is based in Fort Lauderdale, formerly was general manager of Continental Vacations, spent two years as director of e-commerce for Air Jamaica and was with Delta Airlines for 25 years in various sales and marketing positions.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].


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