Philipsburg – The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) held on Thursday 26th at Sonesta Great Bay hosted a strong and enthusiastic crowd.  With Key note speaker, Ms. Isabel Mosk an internationally renowned expert on the use of social media and digital destination marketing led to the largest turnout in recent years. The SHTA’s Annual General Meeting of Members always for the opportunity to showcase SHTA’s plans, goals and expectations for this upcoming year as well as its accomplishments over the closing twelve months.  The formal presentations are then followed by a networking cocktail hour.

The invitation to Ms. Mosk tied perfectly into the plans for the upcoming year of SHTA. The organization is continuing with the St. Maarten branding project which was initially introduced at the Crystal Pineapple Awards, with creative inputs from Loic
Bryan of Artistic Drive as one of St. Maarten’s own creatives partnered with SHTA on the branding for St. Maarten.

Ms. Mosk explained the significance of storytelling in destination marketing and how in in this new era of technology, the individual guest wants to share their personal story of the destination by way of a blog, a post or a critique which in turn helps to marketing the destination.  The opportunities in digital marketing are an important investment and growing more and more each year, they are well within each and every destinations marketing budget and typically less expensive than traditional means of marketing.  Storytelling by the destination and its visitors gives a potential visitor the true feeling of the destination and increases hype of places to travel to. By sharing actual images and experiences that people had on their journeys is makes a destination more attractive to other visitors and even negative posts make the online storytelling more realistic and believable. In order to be successful in digital marketing the destination should allow the guest to be the lead character within the story about the destination.

In addition, she suggests to look beyond slogans within destination marketing. As by having one slogan does not capture what the entire destination is about. This was an intriguing recommendation as slogans has been the norm for branding or cultivating new marketing strategies. The Annual General Meeting also attracted many young ambitious entrepreneurs who are interested in SHTA and who share its passion for St. Maarten. The Board of SHTA was pleased with content depicted and the feedback of members from the event. Members and non-member guests in attendance were very receptive and many came forward with ideas and assistance with the development of promotional materials to stimulate the economy of our island destination.

The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association 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 our offices at 542-0108 or visit our website at