PHILIPSBURG – The St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA), the largest private sector business representative, met with the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication the Honorable Ingrid Arrindell on Friday January 8th, 2016.
During the meeting SHTA and the Minister discussed the current status of the St. Maarten Tourism Authority (STA); presented an on-line marketing proposal aimed at boosting stay-over tourism during the traditional slow summer months in combination with a relaunch of the “Save the Summer” Program, and important upcoming North American trade-shows to promote the island.
SHTA is concerned about the impact of sluggish bookings during the current winter season, and how this will possibly affect this year’s summer business and St. Maarten’s non-existing promotional campaigns to drive occupancy.
Therefore the Association took the initiative by re-submitting the “Save the Summer” Program and two additional on-line marketing campaigns executed by the largest travel booking sites Expedia and TripAdvisor. “Save the Summer” Program, a private sector initiative with public sector support to promote the island in the Tristate area on the East Coast of the United States, and the on-line marketing campaigns, aim to deliver immediate results for the island in terms of boosting occupancy during the low season months this year.
To provide a continuous marketing presence, the SHTA presented the Minister with two on-line marketing campaigns executed through Expedia and TripAdvisor. Both sites combined are the most visited travel websites in the world.
The proposal expounded on the fact that currently approximately 30% of the room revenues on St. Maarten are a result of bookings done through Expedia. The proposed campaigns will assist in giving St. Maarten a much needed presence in the on-line marketplace that unfortunately had been lost over the past years.
Based on the proposals and the commitment from the private sector the Ministry has approved a Public-Private partnership whereby the combined investment is US$550.000. This would place St. Maarten at a similar level, or higher, with competing regional destinations.
SHTA believes that the results of this collaborative effort will be able to be seen in bookings as early as April 2016 and onwards, as these are the months where the island could benefit most from this major boost.
Both representatives of Expedia and TripAdvisor will be visiting the island to present to the various properties how the co-op campaign will work. The Association would like to commend the Minister for recognizing the quick wins of the proposal by facilitating the implementation of the campaigns.
The SHTA 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 www.shta.com. (SHTA)