AMSTERDAM–A group of eleven travel business professionals from the Netherlands will be visiting St. Maarten on a so-called familiarisation trip in the week of Carnival late April, early May.
“The many festivities in that period provide the perfect opportunity to promote St. Maarten,” said Suzette Moses-Burton and Marlon Beauperthuy of Le Beau Reizen and 721 Hub Marketing, the two organising companies.
Beauperthuy and Moses-Burton, will head the group, which consists of eight travel agents and tour operators, a travel blogger and a representative of Royal Dutch Airlines KLM. The group will arrive on the island on April 25 and leave on May 2.
The main sponsors of the familiarisation trip are the Port of St. Maarten, Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM Airport) and KLM. The idea for this trip was born at the January 2017 Holiday Fair (“Vakantiebeurs”) in Utrecht, where the Port of St. Maarten had teamed up with SXM Airport and Maduro Travel to exhibit a booth.
It started with a raffle, explained Moses-Burton. Representatives of the travel industry who visited the booth at the Holiday Fair were asked to supply their information or leave their business card in order to participate in a raffle to win an all-expenses paid trip to St. Maarten.
“Considering the success of the raffle and the positive attention that the booth drew, we figured to expound on the idea to organise a familiarisation trip to St. Maarten. We pitched the idea to the harbour and the airport, and they were immediately enthusiastic,” Moses-Burton told The Daily Herald.
“We decided that this Carnival period offered a unique opportunity and perfect timing to organise the trip. We reached out to KLM which was willing to sponsor the airline tickets,” said Moses-Burton, who also expressed gratitude to the Westin Dawn Beach Resort which fully supports the cost of the accommodation as well as a special lunch and dinner.
The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) is supporting the familiarisation trip with food and drinks at the Festival Village and entrance to the shows. The visiting group will attend the Soca Rumble Show, the Caribbean Crossover DJ Competition, the Night of the Hitmakers and the One Love Reggae Concert. And, naturally they will view the Grand Carnival Parade on May 1. The group will do so at a great spot, the Holland House Hotel.
According to Moses-Burton, organising the familiarisation trip in the Carnival period presented an opportunity to promote the extension of the high season in the Netherlands, thereby generating more interest of Dutch visitors outside the traditional winter season.
The objective of this trip is to generate more interest for the destination itself, but to also introduce the Carnival period as an additional selling point. Some members of the group have visited St. Maarten before, but have not experienced Carnival. “We aim to give those who have not been to Carnival as yet a better understanding of this unique selling point,” said Moses-Burton.
The stay in St. Maarten will not only include attendance of the shows at the Festival Village, and the Grand Carnival Parade, but also an island tour, the Jouvert Morning jump up, a tour of both SXM Airport and the harbour, plane spotting, several hotel site visits, and a day at the beach.
On April 28, the group will visit St. Eustatius and on April 30 they will be in Saba. Island tours are planned on St. Eustatius and Saba. These two days serve to highlight St. Maarten’s selling point of making trips to surrounding islands, and to promote St. Eustatius and Saba.
Other sponsors besides the Port of St. Maarten, SXM Airport, KLM and Westin that are making this trip possible include: Daytona Tours, SCDF, Artemia, Layback Bar and Grill, Maduro Travel, the Saba Tourist Office and the St. Eustatius Tourism Development Fund.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/65210-dutch-travel-agents-to-st-maarten-carnival