Operator/owner of The Old Gin House Sybolt Ten Hoopen (left) with hotel manager Marisol Thomas.
ST. EUSTATIUS–“Last year was good for the St. Eustatius tourism industry and this year promises to be even more successful,” says operator/owner of The Old Gin House grand inn and restaurant Sybolt Ten Hoopen.
“Our hotel bookings were 20 per cent higher during last year compared to 2016 and our referral business to partner hotels on the “Historical Gem” increased by a similar amount.”
Ten Hoopen high hopes for the future are based on various factors. “Our advanced bookings for the first quarter are above expectations. Furthermore, we expect a great boost this year from the airlift via the [Caribbean Netherlands – Ed.] CN Express that will link the island with Saba and Bonaire. The new Bay Express ferry service between Philipsburg and our harbour will also improve visitor numbers to Statia,” Ten Hoopen explains.
At the time of the interview, Ten Hoopen did not know that the launch of CN Express would be delayed due to Windward Islands Airways International Winair stepping out of the agreement (see related story).
“The Orange Bay Hotel is scheduled to open its doors and local Government will resurface Lower Town Road [Orange Bay Road – Ed.] Treatment to prevent further cliff erosion especially beneath Fort Oranje is welcomed. Such measures can only enhance the tourism product on the island,” he said.
“Moreover, we expect further expansion of hotel accommodation as well as some new restaurants. Statia has a very active entrepreneurial momentum which hopefully will continue into 2018, Ten Hoopen said.
Ten Hoopen added that his hotel was “extremely delighted” to host King Willem-Alexander during his visit to Statia in September 2017 to meet those directly affected by Hurricane Irma and personnel involved with the clean-up and reconstruction.
He remained tight-lipped about the culinary delights his chef Anton Roeland presented to the royal guests.
“I can reveal that we prepared sandwiches with home-baked wholesome bread. By royal request, we also made a second round to supply His Majesty’s pilot and flight crew,” he told The Daily Herald.
“Royal etiquette was not disturbed since the pilot happens to be a dear friend of mine and hotel manager Marisol Thomas.”
Director of St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation Charles Lindo also has a positive outlook for 2018.
“We are eagerly awaiting tourism data from the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics,” he said. “The year 2016 certainly witnessed a slight uptick in visitors to the “Golden Rock.” Interestingly enough, one out of five air passengers was a day tripper. Of course, we would like to see tourists stay longer. Statia has a magical spirit that embraces natural beauty and historical fascination, so 2018 could well be a bumper year.”
According to Ten Hoopen, St. Eustatius has a unique mix of attractions. “Historical monuments, nature trails, a very professional diving industry and initial plans for a yacht marina will increase the island’s appeal and put more heads on beds.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/72418-good-outlook-for-tourism-in-statia