Editorial: Looking at St. Maarten’s core business

POSTED: 08/9/11 12:08 PM

St. Maarten’s tourism industry is still showing some prestige as the island and businesses here have been selected as nominees in Caribbean Travel + Life’s Best of the Caribbean Readers’ Choice Awards. These are awards that carry a lot of weight because it actual travelers who will the choices of who comes out on top.
There is an interesting shift in the balance of power here as we see more of the attention shifting to the French side. For example that side is nominated as Best Overall Destination. We also see Orient Beach being nominated as Best Beach and Baie Longue, Baie Rouge and Cupecoy as best beach for skinny dipping. The French Side has also been nominated as the Best Destination for Adventure, Best Destination for Snorkeling, Best Caribbean Island to live on, Sexiest Destination and Friendliest Destination.
Whether these shifts are indicative of a systemic problem needs examination, and that review must be part of a wider examination of how this country does its core business of tourism. It is several years ago that we developed the Tourism Master Plan. Maybe it is time, in the still early days of the young country, to develop a new vision on where to go and how to get there. We are keen to point that since there is an interim director at the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau, planning and managing a transition may very well be wise at this stage of the game.

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