Editorial: Beggars can’t be choosers

Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Ingrid Arrindell recently announced plans for a 450-room resort. This is in principle good news, especially as there hasn’t been any completely new major tourist accommodation development on the island for a while. However, it regards an all-inclusive hotel, which means guests tend to stay there.

That’s an issue with which various destinations are dealing and prompted, for example, the Government of Aruba to propose a law that would keep the balance between regular and all-inclusive properties as well as rooms at its existing level. It must be said, both the Aruba Trade and Industry Association (ATIA) and the Chamber of Commerce fear this would have a negative impact on the investment climate, although the taxi drivers support the move.

Minister Arrindell acknowledged that the all-inclusive aspect could be seen as a drawback, but said it involved the Sunwing Group which, of course, has its own airline that currently services the island and is therefore able to supply a steady flow of passengers. Moreover, tourism from Canada has grown enormously over the years and it’s an important market for St. Maarten.

It’s also no secret that several local resorts such as Sonesta Maho and Sonesta Great Bay have already gone all-inclusive primarily to meet the Canadian demand for such, so it’s not like everything would suddenly change. Sure, the hotels that made adjustments to cater to this group could lose clients once the project is completed, but if it brings more visitors from Canada they might also get a bit of “new business.”

In addition, there probably will be some additional traffic from Canada during the preparations and building process, in terms of executives coming to help plan and oversee the work. These persons most probably would stay at the same places their countrymen on holiday currently do, certainly at the start, which in itself could provide a small temporary boost.

All in all, one would have to conclude that “The Friendly Island” and its mass tourism can ill afford to say “no” to this initiative. Increased economic activity is clearly needed and – while many may not want to hear it – in that sense beggars simply can’t be choosers.
Source: Daily Herald
Beggars can’t be choosers


  1. All inclusive resorts will do nothing for the island in general & one only has to look at DR or Jamaica to see that there has been very little positive impact on the country from the large amount of all inclusive resorts they have. The airport will make more money which they keep for themselves anyway but other than that it will not help. The restaurants in Maho (many of which have been there for years) are all suffering because of the all inclusive decision Maho made & I know some would already be out of business if not for the long-time island visitors who do not go all inclusive. People who like all inclusive generally do not like to spend any additional money which is why they go all inclusive. Possibly they bring some gambling money but that doesn’t help the island since the casinos get away with murder regarding fees & taxes.

    I do not believe this island has to be begging for a resort to be built but they do need a good, honest, dependable government infrastructure in order to attract the right companies. Why can Aruba, Curaçao, St.Kitts, etc. get major hotel chains & yet SXM has none except The Westin & I don’t really count them since they only benefit a few people on the island….

    Another non-beneficial project for the island but a pocket filler for a few……..

  2. 450 rooms at Indigo Bay? Way too big. Make it smaller, 200 rooms tops and include criteria that ensure local economy is permanently stimulated (e.g. no tax holidays, local employment, local purchases of goods/services etc)

  3. The question is, can we afford to say yes?
    Why would sun-wing want to invest in their own property. The answer is simple. Profits. Nothing wrong with profits, the problem arises when government injects itself into the mix. Will Sunwing be granted a tax holiday? Will Sunwing outsource it’s back office? Will Sunwing import it’s own goods? How about labor? Who will work there, who will get the managerial positions?

    Then there is the question of where will this resort be located. I’m sure the neighbors will be thrilled. What will traffic in that area look like?

    Will it take up some beachfront? Yet another public area where those of us that live here will be less than welcome? Sint Maarten no longer has the space to build these types of resorts and with the price of real-estate, one has to wonder what promises were made to entice Sunwing to invest in Sint Maarten as opposed to the myriad of other options.

    The economic impact of a major new resort could be substantial, but only if the population at large benefits. Those benefits need to be more than just a couple of jobs, but need to include money flowing back into education, infrastructure and generally improving the quality of life for the residents.

    There needs to be a lot more clarity. Nice that The Daily Herald now considers us beggars that can’t afford to have choices.