PHILIPSBURG–The country’s post-Hurricane Irma room inventory is steadily climbing, expanding the possibility for the faster recovery.
Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Stuart Johnson announced this week that inventory will be “about 70 per cent” restored by the end of the first quarter of this year. He said this year his ministry “will double down on efforts to achieve full recovery of our destination.”
According to figures from St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, the destination had some 4,000 rooms. Today, the number of available hotel rooms stands at 1,784, a mere 45 per cent of the original inventory. By the end of the first quarter, the figures suggest the inventory will be at 2,418, about 62 per cent of the pre-Irma count.
The French side of the island currently has 557 rooms available.
The room inventory figures do not include the number of villas, condos, and properties available to rent via vacation rental companies on- and off-island and online portals such as Airbnb and VRBO. Those numbers would send the room inventory up.
The country’s hotel inventory was severely affected by monster Hurricane Irma in September 2017. That storm wiped out or damaged some 80 per cent of the country’s tourism infrastructure. Ever since, the tourism-driven island has been working to regain its pre-Irma footing.
Three of the major hotel properties are still out – Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino and Spa; The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort and Spa; and the now-demolished Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort and Casino. Sonesta Maho is slated to reopen as of February. Word is The Westin may not welcome visitors until 2020. The former Sonesta Great Bay property is slated to become a new resort carrying the Planet Hollywood brand.
Cruise passenger arrivals and airlift to the island continue to increase, with many major airlines reintroducing the destination to their schedules and new cruise ships adding the port their itineraries.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/84572-room-inventory-to-near-70-per-cent-by-end-of-march