Philipsburg – On Thursday March 23rd the partnership between the Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) and the local non-profit foundation Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) was strengthened by the signing of the collaborative agreement to promote sustainable tourism through the Blue Flag and Green Key eco-label awards.

The event was held at Holland House Beach Hotel in Philipsburg, the newest Green Key awarded site for Sint Maarten, in anticipation of the official Green Key Award ceremony and sustainability expo which acknowledges the exceptional efforts of the awardees, being in the forefront of sustainable tourism for the hotel industry. The event, to be held in May, will also award Princess Heights Luxury Boutique Condo Hotel for its third consecutive year as a Green Key Hotel.

Both parties were excited to finalize the long-awaited agreement which highlights the dedication, support and advocacy for the Green Key and Blue Flag programs amongst tourism businesses in St. Maarten.

The Collaboration agreement was signed by Mr. Rueben J. Thompson, EPIC Executive Board Treasurer and Paul J. Henriquez, SHTA Executive Board and was witnessed by Fleur Hermanides, Executive Board member of EPIC and project manager of SXM DOET and Wyb Meijer, SHTA Executive Director.

“EPIC has been working for many years to further develop sustainable tourism for Sint Maarten and SHTA has been a key partner in that effort. We appreciate the vision and concern of SHTA in committing to promoting best practices among its members and their customers. To really stand out from the crowd, St. Maarten can offer not just the standard Caribbean sun, sand, and sea, but an environmentally-responsible experience that guests can feel proud to support, further building their ties to the island” noted the President of EPIC, Natalia Collier.

The SHTA Board Member Paul Henriquez commented “This collaboration represents the effort of the SHTA to support and promote sustainability amongst its members and to work with EPIC towards making the environment of St. Maarten a better place for the community”.

Environmental Protection in the Caribbean is the National Operator for the international Green Key award for accommodations and restaurants and international Blue Flag award for marinas, boats and beaches, which is managed globally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Any business interested in learning more about applying for the award programs can visit or contact EPIC’s Eco-label Coordinator, Ms. Elisa Oldani at or on 554-0742.

The SHTA, the largest business representative on the island, is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable economic development for its members in cooperation with the social partners and the creation of a fair marketplace. For more information, please contact the SHTA office: 542-0108, e-mail  or visit our website