Resorts optimistic over 2017 bookings

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas–There was a general sense of optimism from St. Maarten/St. Martin hotels represented at Caribbean Travel Marketplace held this week in Atlantis, Paradise Island, in the Bahamas.

The “upbeatness” stemmed from gold meetings with existing tour operators that sell the vacations to the destination and new players on the scene.

Ricardo Perez, General Manager of Oyster Bay Beach Resort, said response to his property and the destination has been very positive both with existing partners and new players. He has made significant inroads with a new tour operator from Argentina that sells quite a number of packages to St. Barths.

Having Oyster Bay Beach Resort work with this tour operator will be a huge plus, said Perez. “They are already passing through Oyster Bay, so it makes sense for me to look into stay at my resort either before or after a trip to St. Barths,” he said.

Denis Herron, representative of The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort and Spa, said while 2017 will be a slower year for group/incentive travel to the resort, vacation travel will see an uptick. That trend will reverse in 2018 when groups/incentive bookings will again take the lead.

Steve Wright of Grand Case Beach Club described his bookings for this year as “excellent” and added that 2016 was a “record year” for his French side resort. Marketplace for him was an excellent place to reconnect with friends and contacts in the industry and continue to have a steady market presence.

Jorge Diaz-Granados, marketing director at Princess Heights, reported a “slower time” on the Marketplace floor due to less scheduled appointments. He and his team persevered by drumming up their own business. The slow appointments were tagged to possible preference given to bigger markets and destinations by tour operators.

Both St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and St. Martin Tourism Office along with several resorts promoted the upcoming St. Maarten/St. Martin Annual Regional Tradeshow (SMART) slated for June.

Source: The Daily Herald