Tourism re-boost strategies discussed by stakeholders

NEW YORK–Raise awareness that the country’s hotels are back online and the relaunch of the Trip Advisor, Expedia and other campaigns in the next six to nine months to drive business for next summer were strategies discussed by St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and St. Maarten’s North American marketing firm MMGY Global with St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA).

SHTA and the Tourist Bureau hope to have just below 50 per cent of hotel room inventory in the next six to nine months, according to Tourist Bureau head Rolando Brison, who has participated in strategy meetings with MMGY and other stakeholders. They have identified a number of activities to be initiated in collaboration with stakeholders in St. Maarten and abroad. The conference call with SHTA focused on the short- to long-term plans, with SHTA offering its opinions and recommendations for immediate and future actions.
Among the issues discussed were constant public relations to counter the overly negative news that may arise about the destination since Hurricane Irma, a continued business-to-business approach to ensure key stakeholders receive accurate information about the country’s status, support of the marine sector representatives who will attend the Fort Lauderdale and Antigua Boat Shows, continued discussions for the resumption of service of major airlines, promotion of St. Maarten Carnival and Heineken Regatta to be held in 2018, and reshaping (in the longer term) the image of St. Maarten to change/adapt the “reasonability” factor.
Strategic sessions are also planned with one of North America’s biggest tour operators, Apple Leisure Group, today, Wednesday.
Sessions will be held with USA Today and other major publications, with emphasis on not just destination promotion, “but effectively changing any misinformation about the island that might be out there and at least letting people know of the progress of the destination in terms of recovery,” said Brison.
Meeting with major airlines, including American Airlines, Delta and JetBlue, are planned to discuss when they will resume regular service and support needed to bring back the flights.
All stakeholders together are needed to put the destination back on track, Brison said. “We know what our potential is, we know our respective sectors. Now we should ensure a cohesive effort to help St. Maarten recover,” he said.
Brison and Tourism Minister Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher are scheduled to attend the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Cruise Conference and others. “Our presence at these shows and our interactions with industry executives at this stage of our recovery cannot be overstated and are of the utmost importance,” Brison said.

Source: The Daily Herald