POND ISLAND–Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Stuart Johnson estimates the country’s room inventory will be at fifty-five per cent of its pre-Hurricane Irma capacity come January 2019. That number is expected to increase to some sixty-six per cent by the end of the first quarter of 2019.
Set to boost room inventory is the coming online of all 130 suites of five-star Sonesta Ocean Point on December 15. Sister all-inclusive Sonesta Maho Beach Resort is set to re-open on February 1, 2019.
Sonesta Maho’s Casino Royale is already operational.
The re-opening of Casino Royal positively impacts our economy as we expect the Maho area will have increased commercial activities, which is a good sign for our visitors and residents alike,” said Johnson in the Council of Ministers Press Briefing on Wednesday.
The casino’s re-opening means many residents – out of steady work since the 2017 hurricanes – can soon return to work. “Casinos contribute majorly to the reduction of unemployment which is a plus for our economy and we, therefore, welcome the re-opening of this casino,” said Johnson.
Casino Royale Theatre will resume shows in the week of Christmas.
On the cruise tourism front, Johnson, together with a delegation from Port St. Maarten, will attend the upcoming Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s Cruise Conference and Trade Show in Puerto Rico.
“I will be delivering the message of St. Maarten’s primary focus and areas of interests where the Cruise Industry is concerned as we continue our destination revitalisation efforts,” said Johnson.
He also hopes to discuss and establish agreements with key industry partners on the extension of cruise ships’ hours in port and press for more homeporting.
Revitalisation efforts include St. Maarten Tourist Bureau working on rebranding plans for the destination. “One of the areas we are seriously looking to maximise our reach is onshore and onboard destination marketing,” said Johnson.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/82219-room-inventory-to-be-at-55-per-cent-by-jan