November 25
The SHTA hosted the 10th Annual Crystal Pineapple Award Show and Celebrated it’s 45 Year Anniversary of SHTA.

October  2015
SHTA JOB FAIR A partnership with the Department of Labour resulted in a very successful fair. 145 registered visitors

August 2015
Introduction of new digitized Membership Administration. Relaunch of the Auction website

July 2015
Launch of the SHTA – NSN – Visit St. Maarten  Radio Buy – ‘Unleash the Summer’

March 2015
New Executive Director Anenda Zaandam was hired

February  2015
New Executive Director Anenda Zaandam was hired

January 2015
Launch of Visit St. Maarten SHTA & North South Net Celebrate Visit St. Maarten Book Launch

The SHTA, together with STB, presented its “Save the Summer” plan

March 2014
In March 2014 Emil Lee decided to tender his resignation as President of SHTA as well as his position on the board of the SHTA.

In 2013 the SHTA, together with the Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC), presented the Blue Flag and Green Key eco-labels.

The SHTA was awarded the CHTA 2010 newsworthy award for its electronic membership newsletter that is distributed twice monthly.

More in 2010
In 2010 the Call Center , a joint initiative by the SHTA and UTS, was realized.

The Dollar-A-Day project has contributed to a number of key events such as a donation to The Love of Kids Foundation, a donation to the SXM Pride Foundation and SHTA donated to the Lab Sports Academy Foundation .

The SHTA Launched its Fun Miles Plus Card.

The Project ” The Vision a Work in Progress” was launched.

May 2005
The SHTA hosted the 1st Annual SMART Hospitality Industry fair (HIF).

January 2005
The SHTA Official Publication, The Experience St. Maarten/ St. Martin was Launched

November 2004 The SHTA once again attended the Career & Study Fair to promote hospitality careers to over 800 students in attendance. Some 16 businesses and government departments as well as 14 colleges attended the show that was held at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort.


October 2004 The first Taste of St. Martin culinary competition was held at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, which was organized by the SHTA Restaurant Division. A total of nine chefs and four bartenders competed against the Caribbean standard for gold, silver and bronze medals. The masterpieces that were showcased confirmed that St. Maarten is indeed the culinary capital of the Caribbean.

October 2004 Operation Awareness, the SHTA tourism awareness program, was launched in the schools with a number of presentations to primary and secondary schools aimed at sensitizing students on the importance of tourism for the island.

October 2004 The SHTA held its second Annual General Managers’ Retreat with a total of 16 general managers attending to discuss operational, marketing and human resource issues.

September 2004 The SHTA held its annual Marketing Meeting with its hotel members to discuss product upgrades, trends and changes in the marketplace, as well as new airlift to the island.

September 2004 The SHTA held a large clean-up campaign in the Suckergarden area as part of the Tourism Awareness Program. Over 150 bags of trash were collected along the road from Reggae Café in Pointe Blanche to Rainbow Supermarket in Suckergarden as well as a number of wrecks, old fridges, stoves, and washing machines, which are not picked up regularly.

September 2004 The SHTA bid farewell to two outstanding employees, Anne Marie Scot and Jasper Dirckx.

September 2004 The SHTA launched their SHTA Tourism Discount Card that offers all SHTA member employees discounts at a number of participating properties to demonstrate that tourism is important to the island and it also gives back to the local community. A total of 3500 cards were distributed to hospitality and hospitality-related employees.

August 2004 The SHTA held its first SHTA Employers Seminar on the topic of labor laws, entitled “An Employer’s Guide to the Labor Law”. The presentation was made by lawyers Jaap van de Horst and Macha Le Poole of Halley Verzijl Blaauw and Navarro Law Offices.

August 2004 The SHTA received funding from AMFO to execute a CARIBCERT training and certification course for over 80 employees in the hospitality industry as well as 20 unemployed registered hospitality workers in cooperation with the Labor Department.

July 2004 The SHTA met with representatives of environmentally conscious organizations, Nature Foundation, VROM, St. Maarten Pride Foundation and the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau to discuss the feasibility of certifying St. Maarten with the Blue Flag certification program. The SHTA applauded the initiative and offered support to study the possibility of certifying St. Maarten.

July 2004 The St. Maarten American Marketing Association, a joint sales force of the French and Dutch tourist bureaus and hotel associations, held their annual SAMA Seminars to promote the island in 6 different cities on the East Coast. The seminars consist of presentations, mini tradeshows and resort updates.

July 2004 The SHTA Dollar-A-Day sponsored two students to attend the Virgin Island Environmental Resource Station as part of an environmental awareness week where the students learned about protecting and preserving their natural environment.

July 2004 The SHTA launched a $150,000 advertising campaign in two US newspapers in the Kansas City Star and the Miami Herald in July and August. The call to action telephone number was routed directly to the SHTA private label call center in order to maximize the results of the campaign. The results were over 23,000 hits on the website during a two week period in July. The campaign was made possible due to the partnership with HCP Aboard and the Experience Magazine. For every dollar of advertising in the magazine, the SHTA receives $0.50 in advertising credit to be able to execute these campaigns.

June 2004 SHTA board member, Robert Dubourcq, was presented the Hotelier of the Year award at the Caribbean Hospitality and Industry Conference. He was honored for his 36 years dedication to hospitality in the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association and Caribbean Hotel Association.

May 2004 The SHTA Board of Directors met with the Kingdom Working Group for Constitutional and Financial Relations. The SHTA was able to give their input on the constitutional change process.

May 2004 The SHTA formed a Tourism Awareness Committee with the Commissioner of Tourism, Theo Heyliger and his staff. The committee would focus on increasing the awareness of the importance of tourism for the island as well as its impact.

April 2004 The SHTA, the AHSM, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and the Office du Tourisme de St. Martin organized the third St. Maarten/St. Martin Annual Regional Tradeshow. This is the first year that the four parties got together to forge a partnership on the planning and execution of marketing tools for the island as a whole.

April 2004 The SHTA launched its online private label booking engine as a private label with WTTE . The online booking makes SHTA member properties more accessible and competitive in the online market.

April 2004 The SHTA launched the website,, as a fundraising effort for the association. Properties participating in the auction are promoted online on the consumer website in return for donating a week stay.

March 2004 The SHTA held its Annual General Meeting with guest speaker, Vincent Vanterpool Wallace of the Bahamas Tourism Board. Vanterpool-Wallace is a very motivated speaker and shared many of the success stories of the Bahamas.

March 2004 A delegation consisting of Tourism Director, Regina Labega, and SHTA President, Emil Lee, as well as other representatives of St.. Maarten properties attended the ITB Berlin Consumer Show.

March 2004 The SHTA met with St. Maarten Institute for Hospitality & Technology (SMITH), Paul Riviere, to discuss the institute and courses offered. The SHTA offered their cooperation and support for the hospitality school.

March 2004 The SHTA attended the Miami Herald Travel Expo in Miami, Florida. This is the first time that St. Maarten was represented at this consumer show. The main goal of attending the show was to increase consumer awareness and promote the Island Summer Promotion.

February 2004 The SHTA launched SESNA Business Workshops for persons interested in opening their own business. Close to 60 participants signed up for the 12 sessions that covered operations, marketing and getting organized. The courses were partly sponsored by the SHTA Dollar-A-Day program and the Small Enterprise Stimulation Netherlands Antilles (SESNA).

January 2004 The SHTA attended the Dutch Consumer Tradeshow, Vakantiebeurs, along with a St. Maarten delegation consisting of the tourist bureau and many hotels. In addition to the tradeshow, a number of sales calls were made as well as meetings with airlines, tour operators and travel agents.

January 2004 The first room attendants were certified with the CARIBCERT certification course. A total of 20 employees from various SHTA member hotels participating in the Dollar-A-Day program were certified along with two registered unemployed room attendants.

January 2004 The SHTA Executive Staff attended its first Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives. Office Manager, Anne Marie Scot attended with SHTA president, Emil Lee. The CSHAE meetings are an important opportunity to exchange ideas, programs, and more with other hotel association executives in the Caribbean. An important observation that was made was that St. Maarten was definitely on track with its goals and accomplishments.


December 2003 The first Cruise Conversion Coin was given to the one-millionth passenger as part of the launch of the Cruise Conversion Program. The cruise conversion program was coordinated in cooperation with the Commissioner of Tourism, Theo Heyliger, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, the Harbor Holding Company, the St. Maarten Ports Authority and the SHTA.

November 2003 The SHTA assisted with the organization of the 2003 Career & Study Fair which was held at the Great Bay Beach Resort on November 4, 2003. The SHTA promoted tourism and hospitality careers. With tourism supporting over 95% of the island’s work force, a career in the industry is becoming more and more important to sustain the local labor market.

November 2003 The SHTA co-sponsored Fiona Murray to speak on the possible future UPT status of St. Maarten along with the Bureau of Constitutional Affairs and the Chamber of Commerce.

November 2003 Over 150 travel agents experienced St. Maarten as part of the KLM Travel Agent FAM trips organized by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and the SHTA. The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau organized a number of island tours and property inspections and SHTA members offered special agent discounts to support the European market.

October 2003 The SHTA executed a salary survey in the hospitality sector as part of the requests made by general managers during the SHTA General Managers’ Retreat.

October 2003 The SHTA sponsored a commemorative coin for the launch of the Cruise Conversion program at the FCCA conference that was held in St. Maarten. The cruise conversion programs aims to convert cruise passengers into stay over visitors over the long run. Studies showed that converting a mere 1% of the million cruise passengers that stayed on the island would result in over $13 million in additional revenue to the island in expenditure and taxes.

October 2003 The SHTA organized the first annual General Managers’ Retreat at Port de Plaisance where general managers received updates on SHTA activities and programs and were able to discuss a number of marketing, human resources and operational issues with moderators including interim labor department head, Rafael Boasman, GEBE diretor, Julius Lambert, and University Dean, Charles Armitage as well as Nature Foundation representative Andy Caballero.

October 2003 The SHTA launches its redesigned consumer website,, as part of the St. Maarten Web Ring with the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, the Nature Foundation, the St. Maarten Heritage Foundation and the Marine Trades Association. The goal of the web ring is to collaborate with online information to avoid duplication and incorrect information as each organization would be responsible for maintaining their information.

September 2003 Over 22 SHTA members participated in the annual marketing meeting that was divided into three sessions updating members on the cruise market , the European market and the US market.

September 2003 The SHTA hosted the first Tourism Summit with the tourist bureaus and hotel associations of the North Eastern Caribbean as well as regional airlines. Under the slogan “Stronger Together”, the goal of the summit was to work on stronger cooperation to secure airlift from Europe and the US.

September 2003 The SHTA became a member of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Chapter Holland as part of the island’s move to focus more on the European market. The SHTA also sent a delegation to the CTO road shows that were also held in September.

August 2003 The SHTA began its US advertising campaign with the slogan “Experience Europe in the Caribbean”. The campaign ran in the Miami, Florida and Fort Worth, Texas every Sunday for a total advertising cost of $70,000. The campaign was made possible through the advertising in the Experience St. Maarten magazine for which the SHTA receives $0.50 advertising credit for every dollar spent in advertising.

August 2003 St. Maarten targets the European market with a joint delegation of Commissioner of Tourism, Theo Heyliger, St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, and SHTA attending a number of meetings with marketing firms, PR firms, tour operators and fulfillment houses in The Netherlands.

August 2003 The SHTA employs Jasper Dirckx and Giselle Williams as Project Managers to broaden its permanent staff to support continuity, project development and execution, and relationship building with SHTA membership and other stakeholders.

July 2003 The SHTA launches the CARIBCERT pilot-program sponsored by the Dollar-a-Day Fund. CARIBCERT is a certification program that was initiated by the CHA. The St. Maarten Labor office supported the program by providing four unemployed room attendants, which when certified will have preference over non-certified foreign labor.

July 2003 The SHTA’s Dollar-A-Day program sponsored four local students to attend the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station (VIERS) as part of an environmental awareness program. The students took part in snorkeling, hiking, laboratory tests and more.

June 2003 Norbert Marrale leaves the SHTA.

May 2003 The SHTA and its members assist the government funded Carrying Capacity Study that was executed by Tourism & Travel Consult, an Irish-based company.

April 2003 The second annual SMART is held at the Maho Beach Resort from April 23-25. The numbers of delegates increased compared to the previous year.

April 2003 SHTA First Vice President, Paul van Vliet, was appointed as a member of the Social Economic Council (SER). The SER, a federal tri-partite consultative body, is generally consulted by government on draft legislation and other matters. SER also has the right to prepare advice to government. SHTA is already represented on the local Social Economic Council.

April 2003 The Island Government commissioned Tourism Travel Consult (TTC) to conduct a carrying capacity study to measure the impact of tourism on the economy, social life and the environment of St. Maarten. The SHTA assisted with the gathering of statistics and other information from its members.

March 2003 The SHTA broadens its staff with the addition of two trainees from the Hotelschool The Hague, Jasper Dirckx and Giselle Williams.

January 2003 The SHTA’s annual fundraiser was held at the la Terrace Restaurant at Princess Port de Plaisance. The theme of the evening was New Beginnings to reflect the high hopes for the new tourism season’s recovery after another year without hurricanes or terrorist attacks. The SHTA donated $5 for every ticket sold to Crime Stoppers, an organization that provides rewards to persons who help solve or prevent crimes.

January 2003 The launch of the first version of the SHTA consumer website, The goal of the website is to profile smaller properties to gain more visibility. SHTA has applied for funding for the website to be promoted heavily through the travel trade, print publications, e-mail broadcasts, and by online keyword advertising. 2002

September 2002 The SHTA submitted its impact report to the 911 Taskforce, installed by government to determine the impact of the terrorist attacks on the United States and the economy of St. Maarten.

August 2002 The St. Maarten Bucks program is launched. The goal of the program is to achieve value-added sales promotions to maintain profitable hotel rates, instead of price discounting. The Bucks are an incentive for visitors to come to St. Maarten and shop, dine, or participate in excursions and activities that are available on the island since the bucks are of no value if not spent and cannot be used on neighboring islands.

August 2002 As a condition for the room-tax decrease, the Dollar-a-Day Program sponsors the Guest Service Excellence course for 20 employees of the participating hotels.

June 2002 Norbert Marrale is employed as Executive Director through an intensive recruiting effort.

April 2002 The first St. Maarten/St, Martin Annual Regional Tradeshow is held at the Maho Beach Resort from April 25-27. The tradeshow was a joint effort of the SHTA and AHSM (French Hotel Association) assisted logistically by the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA). SMART offers a professional way to bring together the movers and shakers in the tourism industry for St. Maarten/St. Martin, and the surrounding islands of the North-Eastern Caribbean.

March 2002 The total projected value of SHTA supported destination marketing and public relations programs, both finances in cash and kind, for the 2001/2002 Association year amounts to some $750,000, the bulk of which was provided via media barter programs, on-island trade promotions and discount programs.

March 2002 For the Association year 2001/2002, the Dollar-a-Day contribution totaled $95,100.

February 2002 The Business Relief Taskforce was installed by government to study the possibilities for the Island and Federal Government to provide economic relief to the business community in general. The SHTA was represented on this taskforce.

More in 2002:

A partnership with the St. Maarten Nature Foundation was established though representation on the SHTA board. The National Tourism Organization (NTO) was incorporated. The board consists of nine stakeholders from government, private sector, and labor. The SHTA is represented on the board by its president. The Dutch government made NAF 3.8 million available as part of a NAF 11.2 million multi-annual tourism recovery program, co-funded by the governments and private sector of both sides of the island, as well as several airlines and tour operators. The Committee, which consists of public and private sector tourism officials, decides on budget allocation within the approved framework and purpose of the recovery fund. 2001

April 2001 Marc van de Bilt leaves the SHTA.

More in 2001:

The SHTA’s annual fundraiser was held at the Palm’s Grill Restaurant at Maho Beach Resort & Casino. The theme of the evening was Stars & Stripes to show support for the September 11 tragedy. The SHTA website,, is used to promote special vacation packages from SHTA member properties. The SHTA Board of Directors mandated a Steering Committee to evaluate the functioning of the Association in term of effectiveness and efficiency. The recommendations were adopted unanimously.

2000 September 2000 Jelle Hamstra is employed in the position of Project Manager.

July 2000 The SHTA and the ST. Maarten Timeshare Association join forces to reduce costs. Jennifer Ajubi was employed for the SMTA.

April 2000 Approved in September 1999, the SHTA introduces the Dollar-a-Day Fund. Guests at participating properties are requested to contribute $1 per day of their stay to the fund that finances product development, educational and environmental programs, as well as destination marketing and research. The fund is a unique opportunity for the guest to contribute to the continued improvement of St. Maarten.

More in 2000:

The SHTA facilitated environmental audits for various member resorts to qualify for the internationally accredited ISO14001 Green Globe certification standards. The SHTA also obtained a grant from the MINA (Milieu Fonds Nederlandse Antillen) for a pilot Ecoroom project in St. Maarten. 1999

January 1999 The St. Maarten Voice wins the CHA Regional Award for outstanding communications at the Caribbean Leadership Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

More in 1999:

The Socio-Economic Council for the Island Territory of St. Maarten was formally approved and installed, including the representation of the SHTA. The SHTA launches its own website, The site offers information about SHTA programs and services, as well as generic information about St. Maarten as a tourist destination and investment destination. The draft articles of incorporation for a tourism foundation or corporation headed by a public-private sector tourism board were presented to the Executive Council. The Executive Council agreed in principle to the privitaization of the Tourist Bureau and transformation in to what is called the National Tourism Organization (NTO). The SHTA is represented on the Emergency Operation Committee (EOC) that is chaired by the Lt. Governor. The SHTA issues members advisories pre- and post strike as well as special procedures and EOC decisions to ensure the safety of our visitors and residents. The number of disciplines increased with the addition of a Construction division, Marine transportation & Excursions Division and a Casino Division. The SHTA financially supported a Front Street Clean-Up Campaign through the District Improvement Team (DIT) in an effort to reduce littering in our capital. The remaining funding was pledge by over 40 Front Street companies. The program ended in June 2000 since there was no structure in place to maintain the project. 1998 December 1998 The articles of incorporation were notarized and officially approved by the governor.

December 1998 The St. Maarten Labour Office and Qualitivity Inc. open a Job Center. SHTA supported this center via the St. Maarten Voice and membership information bulletins.

October 1998 Anne Marie Scot promoted to Office Manager. Jacqueline Williams was employed as Executive Assistant.

March 1998 The SHTA broadens its scope to include the trade sector of St. Maarten. The Association’s goal is to also offer its benefits to other sectors that rely on the hospitality sector, due to the island’s large dependence on tourism. The change was also reflected in the new name: The St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association. This widened scope was also reflected in the addition of two more disciplines to the board, including Restaurant and Marine Trades directors.

More in 1998:

The SHTA starts publishing a monthly newspaper, The St. Maarten Voice. Approximately 5,500 copies are distributed each month free of charge. SHTA challenged the present structure of license fees, which SHTA feels should be collected as retributions, not levied as taxes. In particular SHTA filed a notice of objection over increased restaurant license fees on behalf of over 20 members of its Restaurant Division. The Association was forced to forward the matter to the Appeals Court for tax-related matters. The first proposal for the development of a St. Maarten Tourism Statistical Information System (TSIS) was presented to government and SHTA. SHTA filed a notice of objection for over 20 members of its Hotel Division who were confronted with a retroactive 5% room tax assessment over service charge and other room tax-related changes under a new interpretation of an existing Island Ordinance Room Tax. SHTA’s subsequent negotiations with the Inspectorate of Taxes and the Executive Council resulted in the retroactive assessment being waived. The Educational Committee hosted the Cornell University Course, launched the SVH Apprenticeship master program for cooks and restaurant hosts, and launched the Welcome Tourist program for all 6th grade students, and the Career Fair Day at the Sundial School. The District Improvement Team (DIT) was created in 1998. The DIT board of directors is comprised of members from the public and private sector, including the SHTA. The DIT works towards structural improvements, which also involve solutions for waste problems, beautification, etc. The SHTA hosted a mini-conference on the subject of the development of a Thermoselect garbage processing plant to answer many of the community’s questions about health and environment. SHTA made NAF 20,000 available through the Environmental Fund for the Netherlands Antilles (MINA) to fund the “Green Hotel Room” pilot project. SHTA made CHA Environmental Toolkits available to hotel managers that listed environmentally safe products and services. 1996

March 1996 Anne Marie Scot was employed as Executive assistant; Marc van de Bilt was promoted to Executive Director. 1995

March 1995 Marc van de Bilt was employed as Executive Assistant


July 1991 The St. Maarten Hotel & Tourism Association is founded as a non-political non-profit organization for an unlimited time.