St. Maarten Heineken Regatta generates USD 27 million for SXM economy annually



PHILIPSBURG – The annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is estimated to bring in approximately USD 27.5 million in direct and indirect spending on the island by visitors and participants, based on an Economic Impact Report conducted by accounting firm Hassink & Roos (currently known as Baker Tilly Accounting St. Maarten) in 2004.

An updated report titled “Facts St. Maarten Heineken Regatta” has been made by Heineken’s local distribution company International Liquors & Tobacco (ILTT) and can be downloaded here which explains the considerable contribution the event makes to the economy of the island and in terms of regional and international exposure for the destination.

Both ILTT and the St. Maarten Yacht Club (both organizers of the annual sailing event) have sounded the alarm bell as previous Governments of St. Maarten have failed to live up to prior financial commitments made, while Government collects USD 1.65 million annually in tax revenues the event generates, according to the report.

Direct and Indirect Spending

The report states that the annual SXM Heineken Regatta brings 5.000 visitors to the island who stay 7 days on average and spend in total about USD 7 million on accommodation, USD 5.25 million on Food, Drinks and Transportation and USD 3.5 million on other activities (day trips, bank fees etc) which totals approx. USD 15.7 million in direct spending on the island of which is estimated that the indirect spending amounts to approx. USD 11.8 million for a grand total of USD 27.562.500.

Tax Revenues

The report states that the estimated contribution of the SXM Heineken Regatta to SXM’s GDP is approx. USD 11 million. The estimated additional tax revenues for Government is USD 1.65 million.

Contribution St. Maarten Government

The report states that the entertainment is 100% sponsored by Heineken/ILTT while Heineken also sponsors 25% of the sport event of which the remainder of the cost is carried by Presenting and Premier Sponsors.

The report states that the Government of St. Maarten has sponsored 0% for the years 2015 and 2016.

It further states that the Government of St. Maarten contributed NAF 500.000 (USD 278.000) in 2013 and NAF 375.000 (USD 208.000) in 2014. In 2015, Government committed to pay NAF 300.000 (USD 167.000) and NAF 270.000 (USD 150.000) in 2016, however these funds has yet to be received. For 2017, the company is unaware about what amount has been budgeted.

To put this into perspective: the last known contribution figure the Government of St. Maarten committed to pay (USD 150.000 in 2016) is merely 9% of the total in tax revenues (USD 1.65 million) the Government is collecting, which the SXM Heineken Regatta will generate annually for Government.

In comparison, large renowned events in the region receive substantial Government support. For instance, St. Kitts Music Festival received USD 600.000 annually from their local Government while St. Lucia’s Jazz Fest get as much as USD 1.5 million in financial support from their Government, the report indicates.

Regional and International Advertising Value

The report states that the SXM Heineken Regatta is the largest warm water regatta, attracts many regional and international media to the island and the event is ranked number 1 in the region (leaving regattas hosted in BVI, Antigua and St. Barth’s in its wake). Unique website visits to are 26.000 in the month of the regatta and 100.000 during the year.

This apart from the regional and international exposure (ESPN has aired several programs about the event in the past for instance) the visiting media generate annually which run in multi millions of dollars in advertising value if one had to purchase it. As such the island benefits tremendously from the free exposure the event generates.

The report concludes that: “the continuation of the event at the present professional level is a must and is in the interest of St. Maarten as a whole. The Regatta functions as an important marketing tool with worldwide exposure attracting a wide range of visitors. In St. Maarten we have an event, the risk of losing it needs to be balanced against the cost of building a new event if this were necessary or desired. A more balanced sponsorship for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is inevitably needed.”

Download the full report here


  1. To say that the Government sponsored 0.00 is BS …. as who takes the extra costs of all emergency services, police, coastguard, risk management, beidgw openings just to name a few ….. ?? Does the Heineken Regatta make use of local professionals such as Photographers and Videographers just to mention a few …. Did the Heineken Regatta in the last 15 years ever feature a winning Sint Maarten or St.Martin team on the cover of their Regatta Brochure ? Just a few questions and as a mad man I do realize that I can pose more questions that the wise regatta organizers can answer !

    • Sounds ur miffed because of other factors not necessarily what this article is aiming to portray: the most popular event that generates a substantial amount of income for both the private sector and Government, yet Government is not contributing to keep this event going. Sad and most likely a very costly mistake.

    • … Are you serious? The regatta does utilize local photographers, if they are any good! If there was a winning SXM team, I am sure they would be featured… Other islands would beg for the opportunity for this kind of event, and revenue. Visiting boats PAY SLAC fees, which cover the Bridge. How can a corrupt government be expected to do what is best for the island? Too bad. I hope they see the light, and get on board! Heineken Regatta is HUGE! Even Trump would invest $200K for 1.2M return…

    • It brings a lot of money to ALL local companies which all pay there Taxes… at least if there is good control they will. But problem is that everything you have to spend Time, Energy and Dedication in to is not being done as a lot are to lazy!
      Fact is that 50% of the ministers didn’t even join 50% of all the meeting held while being well paid for it! Only thing a lot can do is complain that “Others take their jobs”, “No SXM people are hired” while filling there pockets and those others put all their Time, Energy and Dedication in to something when people like you sit behind their desk complaining you aint where you wanne be because of everybody else!!!