>GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The St. Maarten
Tourist Bureau (STB) in collaboration with Department of Statistics (STAT), has released the results of its Tourism Exit Survey (TES), based on 642 forms which captured a total 1368 stayover passengers, in March this year.
The survey was executed from March 4th- March 11th at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) and consisted of collecting information such as visitor and trip characteristics and satisfaction information.
The timing of the exercise gave the STAT Department a unique opportunity to compare visitors’ experiences pre and post Irma which gave insights into the effects of Hurricane Irma media coverage and on visitors’ expectations.
Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunication (TEATT) the Honorable Stuart Johnson said that statistical data collected is essential for the sustainable redevelopment of St. Maarten.
The Minister added that one of the critical aspects of the St. Maarten United Christian Democratic Coalition’s Governing Program 2018-2022 was the strengthening of the STAT Department to ensure that data collection was significantly improved.
Minister Johnson said this is essential in order to understand our challenges better and help us rebuild a sustainable economy. Minister Johnson commended the TES team for their patience and dedication to accurate data collection and said the information collected can be vital to local businesses and should be put to good use.
Interim Director of the STB May-Ling Chun said, “The Tourism Statistical information is essential to our destination as it serves as a monitoring tool by which changes in St. Maarten’s tourism industry can be tracked. Today is a fast world including the tourism world of St. Maarten.
The TES also captured information from departing visitors who attended the 38th annual Heineken Regatta as it allowed them to express their impression of the first major event for the island after Irma.
Through collaborative analysis three reports were produced from the respective data set; TES Highlights March 2018, a report on the Heineken Regatta Attendees, and a study on the effect of Hurricane Irma’s Media Coverage.
Department Head of STAT, Makini Persaud-Hickinson said regular surveys amongst tourists are critically important, it yields valuable data that can help us gauge the impact of the industry on our economy and stay abreast with how our guests perceive us.
The three reports contribute to remodeling the marketing strategies and monitoring the economic impact of the tourism industry.
According to statistical information gathered, amongst 88% of the visitors who saw media coverage of St. Maarten post-Irma, 54% saw mostly negative media coverage.
The results of the TES will form the basis for tailor-made marketing initiatives, which will be continuously strengthened to ensure positive PR for St. Maarten.
The TES reports will be used as guides for helping the government in its rebuilding efforts, as it gives vital details of visitor observations.
The reports are now public and can be read in detail on www.stat.gov.sx
PHOTO CUTLINE: STAT Department Head Makini Persaud-Hickinson