Emil Lee sees opportunities for tourism in Statia

POSTED: 09/28/15 6:42 PM

ORANJESTAD – CHTA President and St Maarten hotelier Emil Lee spoke about the economic value of tourism at the Statia Sustainable last week.

Lee spoke about the many changes that CHTA is undergoing and the new CHTA Hub and Spoke model where national hotel and tourism associations and tourism professionals curate new ideas, best and worst practices.  “Many of the islands in the Caribbean share very similar problems and issues, which provides a great opportunity to share the solutions.  There is no need in the Caribbean to reinvent the wheel,” Lee said.

Lee also took the opportunity to integrate some of his experiences and knowledge about the tourism industry to offer some recommendations on how to enhance the economic contributions of tourism in Statia.

“For tourism to be viable and economically sustainable, it must also be environmentally and socially sustainable,” Lee said. “The development of tourism for the sake of tourists and the industry is not sustainable.  The first step in any tourism development plan must be to determine, what do the people want?  What do the citizens want their home to look like? The best way to attract tourists to your destination is to make your home the best place to live.”

The small size and limited number of tourists gives Statia an amazing opportunity to manage its tourism marketing efforts to a degree that few others can, Lee pointed out. “This is an opportunity to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, collect data and manage visitor experiences to an amazing degree.”

Some initial discussions were held with Winston Fleming about a possible closer working relationship of the St. Eustatius Business Association with the CHTA.  Since Statia has no formal hotel association, the possibility of hotel representation could easily fall under the umbrella of the STBA.

“It has been several years since I have been to Statia, it was wonderful to be able to return and spend more time there,” Lee said. “Statia has some interesting challenges and opportunities ahead.  I believe there is a capacity to offer one of the most authentic Caribbean experiences to visitors.  Properly stimulated, I could easily envision a successful farm to table dining experience.  The people were very friendly and gracious.   I am delighted to have received the invitation to speak.”

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