Former Tourism Commissioner Rollocks to provide consultancy to Minister of TourismPOSTED: 01/27/11 2:31 PM
St. Maarten – Minister of Tourism Franklin Meyers says he is putting all efforts into finishing the setup of the National Tourism Authority by the end of the first quarter of 2011. The autonomous agency, which has been in the planning since 2000, will have the primary task of marketing the island.
“My intention is to make St. Maarten’s presence known,” Meyers said at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing.
The agency will bring together representatives from the public and private sector and will be completely subsidized by the government. That funding arrangement is the current bottleneck in finalizing the agency. The examples being studied are the tourism authorities in Curacao and Aruba.
“It’s government’s responsibility and these are the discussions that we’ve been having with the departments. But how long are you going to have the discussion. We have to realize that we have a priority and the priority is tourism and we could come up with a lot of why don’t the private sector and why don’t this and then it never gets done,” the Minister said.
Creating the new agency, as pledged in the draft of the governing program submitted to Governor Eugene Holiday as part of the formation of the new government, is part of a wider strategy to take the island’s product further. It is also about ensuring that marketing can be done be quicker.
“We are and will be focusing on stay-over tourism. We want to see growth in the stay over tourism and that’s where our campaigns and development in marketing will be heading,” Meyers said.
In the past five years the island’s stay over arrivals have flat-lined around 500, 000.
Meyers also announced that he is negotiating with Julian Rollocks to serve as a consultant to his office for one year. The former politician and campaign advisor to the Democratic Party is being recruited because of the contacts he built up in the United States during his time as Commissioner of Tourism. The Minister will use a 300, 000 guilder allocation, which every Ministry has for consultants to pay Rollocks a yet to be agreed upon fee.
“Mr. Rollocks will be contracted by the Ministry of Tourism to provide me, my ministry, directly with consultancy,” Meyers said.