The Aruba Tourism Authority has launched a $10 million marketing campaign.

The campaign's tagline, "90,000 Friends You Haven't Met," showcases the people of the island as Aruba's most important asset.

"In today's economy, it is important to differentiate Aruba from other island destinations and to communicate the value offered to travelers," said Edison Briesen, minister of tourism and transportation.

Comedian Lewis Black, known for his sarcasm and profane rants, will appear in TV ads. Black will encounter new Aruban friends in the commercials, trying to figure out why the natives are so warm and friendly.

Ads target Aruba's key markets of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago and Hartford/New Haven, Conn.

Subway ads are running in Boston and New York with posters featuring various "Aruba Friends." Each ad depicts an Aruban telling his or her story about who they are and why they love Aruba. The personalities were selected through an island-wide casting call on Aruba.

"By showcasing real Arubans, we focus on the reasons that our repeat visitor rate is more than 60%, the highest in the Caribbean," said Myrna Jansen-Feliciano, the Aruba Tourism Authority's managing director.

Aruba also will roll out a revamped website by the end of the year or early 2009 that will function as a one-stop-shop for planning and booking a trip.

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