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Old Monday, September 24th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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LocaLisa LocaLisa is offline
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Default Ike Cohen, a pioneer and a visionary...

Aruba has lost a great man, Ike Cohen. A pioneer and visionary has passed away at the age of 96, on September 23, 2007. Mr. Cohen had contributed to Aruba and helped form the national product "Tourism". This helped Aruba to obtain a certain form of independence economically. Ike Cohen was a true pioneer in spirit and was a co-founder of the Aruba Hotel Association known as AHA, that later on developed into AHATA.

In 1966 the president of AHA was a local hotelier Milo Arends, Ike was secretary and treasurer during the first 3 years, starting of with a budget of 600 Aruban florins (US$ 343) which he managed very carefully. Basiruti, Aruba Caribbean Hotel, Strand Hotel and Cactus Inn, were the first members of AHA.

Ike Cohen arrived in Aruba for the first time in 1950. He stayed at the Scala hotel in Nassaustraat (Mainstreet or Caya Gilberto François Croes). As a paintwork contractor for LAGO Oil and Transport Company, he worked outside the refinery in a so-called Tank Farm, he had to work in the heat of the day supervising the work.

After a hard day's work, Cohen could not imagine himself voluntarily sitting in the sun while vacationing. But the lieutenant governor Oscar Henriquez changed Ike's mind, he asked him if he had close contact with potential investors in the US, who were willing to build a hotel on the island for people who would want to come to Aruba on vacation and have the possibility to sit on the beach and sunbathe.

Ike always said that suddenly the idea sounded really good and the vacationing concept hit home. He understood very well that some people want to relax on a beach and get a suntan in the process.

When Aruba Caribbean Hotel opened in 1959, Ike learned another lesson. He learned that not only were tourists attracted to the sun, but also to casinos, restaurants and entertainment.

In 1964, Cohen became the proud proprietor of a 27 room hotel, when he bought the Strand Hotel. The name "Talk of the Town", which he later called the hotel was a name he saw on a restaurant while visiting the US.

When Strand Hotel changed its name to Talk of the Town, he competed on several levels with Caribbean Hotel, including food.

During almost 50 years, Cohen created a small empire, being the owner of hotels Talk of the Town and Manchebo Beach Hotel, Catering services Calloway Catering and Tec Agencies importer.

He always contributed to the less fortunate, especially after his wife Greta passed away. Every year Cohen organized a special party in connection to his birthday to collect funds and donate to a particular foundation or instance to help the needy.

At the age of 96, Cohen was still very active managing all of his companies.

Translated from Diario Aruba newspaper

Here follows several news snippets from the archives.

The Needs Of Maris Stella Residents Studied By Ike Cohen And The Reynaers

The Manchebo 6th Anual Charity Fair

The Sunday Morning Concerts Raise Money For Musical Education

New project Spearheaded by Ike Cohen by Rona Coster

Ike Cohen's 92nd Birthday by Rona Coster

ARA Launches Just Dessert by Rona Coster

Bringing the Community together at Ike Cohen's 95th Birthday by Rona Coster

Ike Cohen Celebrates 95th Birthday A Terrific For-Charity Party by Rona Coster

One of the Oldest Tourism Association in The Caribbean by Rona Coster

Tourism Pioneers Honored by Rona Coster


Last edited by LocaLisa; Monday, September 24th, 2007 at 02:30 PM.
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Old Monday, September 24th, 2007, 01:53 PM
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dwippies dwippies is offline
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Default Re: Ike Cohen, a pioneer and a visionary...

thank you lisa. in all my years of coming to aruba, i found that no one ever had a bad word to say about ike cohen. he was a good man for aruba, the people and the tourists. he will be missed but the work he did will be remembered for generations.
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