Within the first week of voting, the SHTA’s 11th Annual Crystal Pineapple Award vote count tallied to 27,773. Well surpassing the St. Maarten election turnout and every prior year’s CPA count by three times. With still two more weeks of voting to go; clearly there is a lot of excitement around this year’s Gala event.

The high participation is due in large part to SHTA’s more prominent use of social media in highlighting the nominees; enthusiastic campaigning by the nominees; as well as hotel and resorts making use of their online follower base to involve loyal Sint Maarten visitors in the voting process to recognize the best of our best.

The SHTA is grateful for the high level of involvement of the nominees and their supporters both on Sint Maarten as well as abroad. Within two days, over 15,000 votes had already been cast. As an independent moderator, SHTA can see where votes originate from, and whether the process is fair and honest.

The SHTA CPA Committee Chairman Ricardo Perez is pleased by the high turnout. “Firstly, it is a great compliment to those people having put their efforts into our economy over the past year and who are being recognized for those efforts to have such large interest. This year’s nominees clearly enjoy the support of a big portion of the St. Maarten community, as well as frequent visitors and clients. We also would like to give a special thank you to the Digikidz Foundation for their voluntary contribution”. All nominees have been recorded by the DigiKidz Foundation team. Nominee movies and pictures can be found on SHTA Website, Facebook and YouTube page.

Perez also believes that the theme of this year’s CPA — Branding Sint Maarten—is adding to the draw of voters providing some extra attention to the event. “We notice that the SHTA branding initiative is being welcomed by everyone in the hospitality sector as something that is overdue and much needed; the SHTA will continuing our efforts to promote Sint Maarten as done earlier this year with the Expedia and Tripadvisor destination campaigns; and endeavor to create a strong recognizable Brand that we all own.”

As the excitement for this year’s nominees grows, so too does that for the event itself! The red carpet award ceremony will take place on Saturday, November 19th, 2016 8 pm at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino. During the annual gala event excelling employees from both the hospitality and trade sectors will be recognized for their excellence and contribution to St. Maarten. In addition to the unveiling of the winners, the program consists of a sumptuous dinner, live entertainment, and a silent auction. Voting can be done on https://shta.com/vote-here. The polls will close on Monday November 14th, 2016 at 12 noon.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/crystalpineappleawards/ and https://goo.gl/haPbwX for pictures and videos of all the nominees.

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