MARIGOT (soualigapost.com) – Launched by three Saint-Martiners, the project Oualichi Xperience offers visitors the opportunity to discover Marigot’s heritage on a touristic train. Welcome on board.
Initiative Saint Martin Active is organizing the third edition of its innovation competition. SoualigaPost.com is partnering with the event and will present each day a candidate and their project.
“The tourists prefer the French side, but do not spend much time there, as there are not many activities. So they go back to the Dutch side, where they stay. Yet, there are so many things to see,” says 38-year-old Miguel Henry. With his younger brother Marino he moved back to the island after spending a few years in Europe; they would like to help promote the history and heritage of the island.
Their cousin, Justin Conner, 36, is also surprised that no activities propose to discover this heritage. “I have been fortunate to travel with my parents, and anywhere we were, it was possible to discover the city or a country’s heritage,” he says. The touristic train is one of those activities. This is how the Oualichi Xperience project was born.
Oualichi Xperience is a creative concept to visit Marigot on a touristic train. The concept is very popular in touristic towns on the mainland and elsewhere. The three cousins have therefore chosen to replicate and present this concept during this years’ edition of the innovation competition, organized by Initiative Saint Martin Active.
The touristic train will propose tours in Marigot which will last between 60 and 90 minutes, with a maximum capacity of 20 people. Audio-guides will give visitors access to comments in five languages. “They will be available in French, English, Spanish, Dutch and Chinese. We have chosen Chinese in anticipation of tourism development in Sint Maarten,” Conner says. When it comes to writing the tour’s comments, the cousins will count on the help from the territorial archives and Daniella Jeffry.
“The starting point will be on the sea front, in Marigot. We will pass by the market’s statue, then head for the old sugar plant. We will also pass by the Pont de Duras (editor’s note: Hameau du Pont), the Catholic Church. We will also go to Bellevue, then stop at the tourist office. We will also stop at the foot of Fort Louis,” Conner says.
“In addition, we want people to discover the local culinary specialties. We are going to establish partnerships with restaurant owners so that we can propose tours with lunch included,” says Miguel Henry. “We are really motivated. We want things to change.”
The environmentally friendly cousins have chosen to use an electric train, and will be recruiting someone to drive it. The total investment will be an approximately €20,000. The first tour should take place before the end of the year.