SHTA and Tourist Office discuss cooperation

POSTED: 09/26/12 12:11 PM

PHILIPSBURG—The St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association SHTA and the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau STB held their first of what is expected to be regular destination marketing meetings last Wednesday at the Tourist Bureau office.

Its Interim Director Gus Priest and SHTA President Emil Lee have both agreed to hold regular meetings to ensure more private sector involvement and cooperation between the two organizations especially considering their collective goal of improving the tourism product and the economy.

SHTA said the private sector welcomes the opportunity to dialogue with the STB about key marketing processes. This he said would ensure that the STB and private sector’s efforts to market the island were aligned.

In the absence of the yet to be formed St. Maarten Tourist Authority the two organizations have found an interim working solution which solidifies their relationship and ensure the eventual formation of the STA meets a stabled relationship that can be capitalized on.

During the meeting the STB received progress reports from SHTA on industry trends, developments and concerns from some of its members including some information on the results seen by some properties who have transformed their product into an “all inclusive concept.”

The two organizations also exchanged information and discussed schedules and promotional activities that they attended and still plan to attend. They have agreed that these discussions will continue to ensure that the STB and private sectors can synchronize activities and objectives for future tradeshows and conferences on destination marketing.

They also got a preview of new features that are being worked on to improve the STB website http://www.vacationstmaarten.com/   SHTA is positive about the developments of the website as a low cost channel for all hotels on St. Maarten to distribute their products.  Noting that this was an initiative for small and large hotels the SHTA has endorsed the website as a “positive step in assisting hotels to improve their net rates and profitability.”

The STB used the opportunity to encourage SHTA to educate its members about the benefit of populating the website which is a free service being offered to local businesses. The next SHTA and STB destination marketing meeting is planned for October.

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