Some readers may have been taken aback a bit by the title “Beggars can’t be choosers” of Monday’s editorial regarding a possible 450-room hotel to be built on the Dutch side by the Canadian Sunwing Group. The expression was certainly not intended in any way to suggest the inhabitants are beggars, but rather that the country in light of its current economic situation and prospects for the immediate future can ill afford to pass up the opportunity, despite the all-inclusive nature of the proposed resort.
As matter of fact, the latter phenomenon is not an issue only for stay-over tourism, but also in the cruise sector, according to a Port St. Maarten statement in Monday’s paper. That is a reality with which the local hospitality industry as a whole will have to deal.
A similar message actually could be heard during the recent Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) presentation in Parliament. For example, Disney Cruise Line chose to create a facility at Tortola, which replaced St. Maarten on its itinerary.
People also need to understand that it’s just business. If passengers spend an average US $191.26 on the island, the companies involved probably would be more than happy to receive less than half that amount directly instead, by keeping them at their own terminals or on the ships.
The best weapon against such trends is making sure the destination remains attractive, exciting and interesting to visitors, whether they arrive by air or sea. Ultimately, a good vacation experience is what most of them want, for which having cruise lines sell popular tours onboard so they receive a commission is very important as well.
“Refreshing” the product was mentioned as a key element, although much of that often depends on private sector initiative. The significance of projects like the Rainforest Adventure Park that offer “something new” should therefore not be underestimated.
Government’s role as facilitator of such developments must not be taken lightly either. Investors are looking for decisiveness and continuity, rather than political instability and erratic policies.
Source: Daily Herald
Decisiveness and continuity