POND ISLAND–Government is looking at how it can maintain the stayover boosting campaigns that were run last year with Expedia and TripAdvisor, Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher said in a press statement issued by her Cabinet on Thursday.
The proposal is to expand the campaigns over 18 months with a higher financial commitment from government. The original campaign was just for a few months, while the current proposal could result in commitments of up to two years,” she said.
One of the key elements under discussion with Expedia are page take-overs that could have the background of Expedia pages promote St. Maarten exclusively during periods when increasing destination traffic is vital.
“So despite Expedia’s proposal being for a specific amount, we already have plans to be able to include additional page take-overs,” the Minister said. “It is estimated that we could potentially triple the amount of promotion we’ve done with Expedia in the past with the page take-overs,” she added.
St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) stated in its Economic Update last week that although, the campaign, carried together with St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, has demonstrated proven results and returns on investments, SHTA said it has already been advised that the Tourist Bureau has significantly reduced its contribution to the 2017 campaign.
The Minister said to the contrary that government is looking into maintenance of the “government- funded” campaigns.
SHTA does not contribute directly as an association to funding the campaign, but some of its members did, according to the Minister’s press statement.
SHTA stated in its release last week, “It is safe to conclude that the TripAdvisor/Expedia campaign initiated by SHTA was successful. If we hadn’t run the campaign, most likely occupancy would have been down 1.5 per cent over 2015.”