ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- An era comes to an end with the retirement on Nov. 7 of Marcial (Charly) Ibarra, North American director of the Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA), after more than 20 years of service.

Ibarra held his North American post for the last 15 years, in charge of all marketing efforts for the region. His prior post with ATA, which spanned seven years, was that of regional director, Southeast, overseeing 26 states in all.

Edison Briesen, minister of tourism and transportation, called Ibarra's contributions to Aruba "immeasurable. As a native Aruban, his commitment to the island has been extraordinary."

Ibarra amassed numerous awards and honors during his tenure, including a bronze Addy Award in 2002 for excellence in radio promotions for his "Charly from Aruba" spots heard across the U.S.

Following his departure, Theresita Chai will act as the interim director of the ATA, North America. Chai can be reached at [email protected].

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

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