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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.
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 www.heinekenregatta.com 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.”