STB, SHTA talk promoting SXM

PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB) and the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) hosted a strategic marketing summit with the main theme “Marketing and Promoting St. Maarten Moving Forward” on Friday last week.

Amongst the attendees were managers of several hotel properties, activities and tour providers, and representatives of Princess Juliana International Airport SXM, Port St. Maarten, Chamber of Commerce, French Tourist Office, PDP Marina, St. Maarten Yacht Club, Expedia and several executive entities within the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication (TEATT).

Acting Minister of Tourism Cornelius de Weever was present to express his gratitude to the organisers and attendees. He emphasised the importance of such a summit and said he looks forward to the input of all stakeholders in building back the tourism industry better than before.

Many stakeholders were able to voice their opinions and determine key components that should be in place to be able to move forward post-Hurricane Irma.
Several topics were discussed, including the appropriate timeline to resume marketing campaigns, different niche markets that should be focused on, improving visitors’ experience, highlighting unpopular tourist attractions and locations, stimulating more on-island collaborations between different entities, dealing with the reality of job losses, providing hospitality trainings, and collecting and sharing data on key tourism-related metrics.

It was established that focus should continue to be on positive public relations (PR) both online and offline, and that the product development of the island should be critically examined and improved while putting emphasis on hospitality trainings. Moreover, consensus was found that PR and marketing efforts must be in proportion with accommodation availability and flight capacity.

The ideas and solutions brought forward will be examined by the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau and will be incorporated in the Ministry’s initiatives where possible. The pragmatic approach and commitment by all stakeholders was evident and will be the way forward in the recovery process.

Source: The Daily Herald