SHTA puts focus on business continuity

PHILIPSBURG–Ensuring business continuity forms the bulk of the first broad advice for the country’s economic recovery from St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA). Recommendations were submitted to the workgroup tasked with drafting the National Recovery Plan.

From consultation with its membership, SHTA said in a press statement on Wednesday many enterprises, as well as large and small tourism properties have been heavily damaged and will need months, some even years, to recover.
To combat this, the Association has recommended economic relief, to be shared equitably over the entire business community and directed to economic growth. This can be established by employee payment assistance from Government and tax relief where possible.
The Association highlighted the importance of a strong, well defined positioning of the destination for a successful comeback by leveraging quick to rebound sectors like yachting and cruise that do not rely as heavily on infrastructure as stay-over tourism.
The importance of infrastructure improvement was also put forward by SHTA. Construction and recovery work will further strain the already congested traffic. The association said it has posed various solutions to cope with this in its advice.
The advice also covers recommendations to safeguard the welfare of the St. Maarten society, and the country’s natural beauty and environment. These are “prerequisites in these dire times to enabling the economy at large to rebuild” and the continued provision of security to society is “a key threshold for successful recovery.”
In its recommendations, SHTA sees cooperation with Government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as a best practice for public-private teamwork, and the need for maintaining and expanding this for the full recovery of the country was also noted.
SHTA members can send in suggestions for speedy economic recovery via e-mail to to enable the association to further expand its follow-up advice.
The recovery recommendations follow efforts of SHTA to get international aid in for the country.
When it became clear that Hurricane Irma posed a clear threat for the country, some SHTA board members were coincidentally on leave in Europe. They formed a committee that convened in Paris to directly start organising relief aid as of September 7. The committee coordinated the first non-military relief flight into the country and assisted with many evacuations.
The Association commended the law enforcement officers at home and from abroad for their dedication and commitment to keep the country safe and secure.

Source: The Daily Herald