By Hilbert Haar
GREAT BAY – On October 20, Minister Ingrid Arrindell (Tourism and Economic Affairs) held a farewell speech at the Council of Ministers press briefing. During this address she said, among other things that Avireps was appointed as St. Maarten’s Marketing Firm for the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg) for three years “and that Spring O’Brien would do similar marketing in the United States starting in November.”
Minister Arrindell made incorrect claim
Today learned from confidential sources that Spring Obrien does not have a contract for these marketing activities – at least, not yet, and November is already halfway gone.
Spring O’Brien is a public relations firm specialized in the fields of travel and lifestyle; the firm was established in 1982 in New York.
The company’s Senior Vice-President Lauren Kaufman is a seasoned marketer; she has traveled to more than forty countries and her experience ranges from destination marketing to luxury cruises, spas, hotel and resorts, airlines and tour operators. She has been with Spring O’Brien since 1997.
Remarkably, she does not list the Caribbean among her favorite destinations. On the company’s website she answers the question about her favorite destinations like this: “It’s so hard to pick just one! For beauty, Bora Bora tops my list, with Santorini a close second. For culture, Japan, China and Thailand blew me away. And for an overall eat, drink, see, do and be merry trip, Argentina takes the cake. Next I’m pondering Vietnam and Cambodia, Bali, Hong Kong or England – I’m dying to see Downton Abbey.”
Today asked Kaufman about the status of the cooperation with St. Maarten. We asked whether it is true that no contract has been extended, whether there are negotiations underway and whether there are stumbling blocks that stand in the way of such a contract. Kaufman’s reaction: “Sorry, I have no comment at this time.”
This strongly indicates – unlike the claim made by Tourism Minister Arrindell in October – that there is, at this moment, indeed no marketing contract between St. Maarten and Spring O’Brien.
Photo caption: Spring O’Brien’s Senior Vice-President Lauren Kaufman: “No comment at this time.” Photo spring-obrien.com