Minister Gibson: “We have struck the jackpot”POSTED: 09/7/16 9:39 AM
St.maarten – One million Chinese tourists every year, the construction of a 326-room hotel and showroom and 450 apartment suites in Belair at the location of the former Barbaron project will change the landscape of St. Maarten’s economy forever. On September 17, a 30-strong delegation from China will come to St. Maarten for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Belair project. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have struck the jackpot,” Finance Minister Richard Gibson said yesterday at a town hall lecture he hosted at the University of St. Maarten where he announced the Chinese project that could in one go double the size of the local tourist economy.
“The future looks extremely bright,” the minister said. Earlier in his address he revealed that he had been negotiation for the past couple of months, together with Prime Minister William Marlin with representatives of the Chinese private and public sector.
“A company has been formed on St. Maarten owned for 50 percent by the Chinese government and for the other half by the Chinese private sector. “This company purchased a parcel of land next to the Belair Beach Hotel, hired engineers and architects to prepare construction plans for a 326-room hotel and showroom on the property and 450 apartment suites,” Minister Gibson said.
The apartments will be sold to Chinese companies for use by their executives and staff as a hub for commercial activities they intend to pursue in the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America. “St. Maarten will be the hub for these activities,” Minister Gibson said.
“During the discussions held between the prime minister, myself and the Chinese representatives they committed to take the necessary steps to generate tourism from China to St. Maarten. In fact they have promised to see to it that at least 1 million of the 100 million annual tourists China produces will travel as tourists to St. Maarten.”