Statia and Saba are both popular diving destinations. (Statia Tourism photo)
SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS–Tourism on Saba and St. Eustatius has been hit hard since devastating Hurricane Irma hit the islands in September last year.
In support of the hospitality sector in these parts of the Caribbean Netherlands, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations made a one-time contribution of 2.48 million euros available on behalf of the Dutch government in compensation for loss of income.
“With my own eyes I have seen what a devastating effect Hurricane Irma has had on the islands. On the Dutch islands St. Eustatius and Saba, the tourist sector is responsible for an important part of jobs and income for many families. With this arrangement, the Government helps affected companies in the tourism sector to bridge this difficult period of reconstruction,” State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops said.
Companies that are included in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and are entirely dependent on tourism in terms of turnover are eligible for the allowance.
The allowance applies for the period September 2017 up to and including February 2018, and is 25 per cent of the expected annual turnover.
To substantiate the request for the allowance, the entrepreneur will have to submit turnover figures over the years 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Entrepreneurs in the hospitality business in Saba and Statia may submit an application to the National Office for Entrepreneurial Netherlands RVO from today, Wednesday, until April 25.
According to the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS), 11,000 tourists visit Statia every year, and Saba welcomes over 9,000 tourists annually.
Statia and Saba are both very popular among divers. Both islands are also frequently visited by cruise ships.