Not too grand opening for Smart

POSTED: 05/26/11 12:46 PM

St. Maarten – The 10th annual St. Maarten/St. Martin Annual Regional Tradeshow (Smart) got off to a not so grand start on Wednesday at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa. The initial plans were for a grand opening and closing as the tradeshow marks its 10th anniversary, but the delay in securing commitments from the Tourism Bureaus on both sides led to a scaled back event.
Executive Director Valya Pantophlet was relatively pleased with the 42 suppliers that registered and are attending as they were really not expecting a huge number of participants.
“Things got off to a late start and we ended up with 42 suppliers and we’re happy with that, because it really nowhere near what we expected we could do,” Pantophlet said.
Registrations aren’t the only things that are down. The entire event has been scaled back with the grandiose plans that organizers had for the event being dropped and replaced with a simpler plan.
“I really have to say that if it was not for Robert Dubourcq, who led the planning committee, none of this would have happened. We also made the conscious decision not to do a lot of splurging because of the short time we had,” Pantophlet added.
One key element that organizers kept is a symposium on Friday that will focus on marketing via the internet.
“We really got the feeling that people wanted to focus on revenue, so we decide to do the symposium and let me remind people that it is open to both the hotel properties and the business community and registration is good,” Pantophlet said.
The symposium will be held at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa between 9:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
The opening ceremony was brief and featured only one speaker – Dubourcq. This is a departure from previous years when representatives from both sides would also offer words welcome and wish the participants much success in the business dealings. Dubourcq simply welcomed the visiting delegates and announced they’d have an early morning shot at registering for more appointments.

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