PHILIPSBURG–The eagerness of timeshare property owners to return to St. Maarten post-Hurricane Irma cannot be understated, according to management of The Towers at Mullet Bay, supported by the management at Diamond Resorts International’s Flamingo Beach Resort and Royal Palm Beach Resorts.
Diamond Resorts International is aiming to have its operation back online with a soft opening by the first quarter of 2020, while The Towers hopes to complete its repairs as soon as possible.
Queries of timeshare owners prompted Tourism and Economic Affairs TEATT Minister Stuart Johnson and Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Cultural Affairs, Youth and Sports ECYS Wycliffe Smith to visit The Towers at Mullet Bay recently.
Timeshare guests are always ready to return to St. Maarten and are a very vital part of the country’s economy. “Their continued contribution to our economy as we rebuild our destination and maintain economic stability is vital and we must ensure that this area of the hospitality industry is properly protected.”
Johnson met with hoteliers for updates on property reconstruction and the handling of timeshare-owners’ queries.
Johnson and St. Maarten Tourist Bureau Interim Director May-Ling Chun visited Flamingo Beach Resort and Royal Palm. They were updated on those resorts’ post-Hurricane Irma and Maria activities by Diamond Resorts International representative Mervin Le Blanc.
Every room in both resorts has been gutted for health and safety reasons based on an insurance damage assessment.
Rebuilding updates are sent to timeshare owners quarterly with details such as colour schemes and designs. An added feature when the resorts reopen will be a Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant unit.
According to a press statement from his cabinet, Johnson told Le Blanc he looks forward to the return of former staff of both resorts when they reopen. Le Blanc said preference will be given to former workers, especially those who undergo the Hospitality First Training Programme at National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) in Cay Hill.
The Towers at Mullet Bay General Manager Clarence Derby gave Johnson and Smith a tour of the 81-room resort. Some construction delays at The Towers have been experienced primarily due to the impact on the operation caused by developments with ENNIA Insurance, the principal shareholder.
Work, especially on the hurricane damaged roof, has resumed. The seventh and eighth floors will be completely stripped and rebuilt in the reconstruction process.
The Towers lost its data, which contained timeshare owners’ files, amongst other things. This made it difficult to send updates to owners. The reservation team and some owners were able to reach a considerable number of other owners to keep them abreast of development. Facebook is also used to keep owners updated on the progress.
The Towers has kept its full complement of staff, who are maintaining the facility.
Derby said owners are not at risk of losing their weeks. Those who had already paid their yearly maintenance fee were given the option to pool those weeks with Resort Condominiums International (RCI) to be able to use them in other countries.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/81913-timeshare-properties-update-government-on-rebuilding