Opinion: Wrong direction

POSTED: 01/5/14 10:40 PM

The idea that the government will cut the marketing budget for tourism – if parliament allows it by approving the 2014 budget later this month – feels like a move in the wrong direction. As our front page story about the rise of Cuba as a tourist destination shows, the cake is not getting bigger but the number of parties that vie for a piece of it is on the increase.

St. Maarten has to promote its product and it has to commit sufficient resources to market the destination. Cutting that particular budget by a significant number will prove to be counterproductive in the long term.

The battle for tourism dollars is a worldwide event. In the limited Caribbean tourism market, visitors are able to spend their dollar only once. We cannot sit back and gloat about the number of cruise visitors we received last year, because 2013 is history.

St. Maarten needs to look ahead and invest in an aggressive marketing campaign to solidify its position in the regional market.

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