The recent re-arrests and detention of three suspects in the case involving the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in May 2005 has had no impact on Aruba tourism, according to tourism officials.

Although the arrests have sparked a worldwide media blitz once again, the effect on the upcoming winter tourism season is "negligent," a tourism official said.

The Aruba Tourism Authority reported "a couple of queries on the subject, but that's it. Travelers are more concerned about finding a room at the inn during the holiday period."

A statement issued by the Aruba Tourism Authority said that "the matter is being handled by the appropriate official authorities on Aruba. The Aruba Tourism Authority does not comment on active police investigations. The Office of the Prosecutor is the only entity that can provide official statements on this case."

The prosecutor's office did issue a statement when the two Kalpoe brothers were arrested on Nov. 21 in Aruba at the same time that lead suspect Joran van der Sloot was arrested in Holland. The prosecutor said that based on new evidence, the suspects "are now charged with involvement in and in the voluntary manslaughter of Natalee Holloway or causing her serious bodily harm, resulting in her death."

In Aruba, authorities can arrest someone based upon reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. Magistrates investigate cases and judges determine a suspect's guilt or innocence. There are no jury trials in Aruba.

Meanwhile, Aruba's robust tourism growth throughout 2007 bodes well for the upcoming winter season. Myrna Jansen, the Aruba Tourism Authority's managing director, described the year as "resoundingly successful" in terms of stayover and cruise arrivals.

"The statistics have continued to climb over last year, proving that the island's consistent product improvements and upgrades result in high arrival numbers," Jansen said.

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

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