St. Maarten, Puerto Rico seek to intensify tourism ties

POSTED: 03/4/11 8:47 PM

St. Maarten – The historical ties between St. Maarten and Puerto Rico, particularly where it concerns travel between the two territories, offer a solid foundation to build closer ties that will yield mutually beneficial results, particularly in servicing the St. Maarten – San Juan route. This was reaffirmed at the recent discussions held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, between a delegation led by Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication, Franklin Meyers, and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, led by its Executive Director, Mario Gonzalez-Lafuente.

The talks centered on the historical level of air service between both destinations and the current situation where only one American Eagle flight and Insel Air service the route.  Puerto Rico, it was agreed, will execute an aggressive strategy to fill the gap and market share lost, while assisting St. Maarten in attracting cooperative marketing in servicing the San Juan route.

Meyers highlighted the traditional relationship between Sint Maarten and Puerto Rico in areas such as medical tourism, shopping and other businesses such as banking, retail and construction materials, to name a few.

“A rather large number of St. Maarteners have been visiting Puerto Rico over the years for medical and dental reasons, while the traffic between both islands for various business development and enhancement purposes has been quite intense,” Meyers noted,

The Minister also pointed to the large number of Puerto Ricans who visit St. Maarten to take advantage of the duty-free shopping and leisure opportunities here.

Speaking on behalf of the Puerto Rican delegation, Gonzalez-Lafuente said he recognizes the historical relationship between the two islands and would like to foster and strengthen this partnership.

Furthermore, air service to both islands was discussed in detail, with the delegations focusing on potential cooperation in new markets. In specific terms, the two partners discussed the possibility of jointly accessing new air services from Europe, especially given the potential for a double stop due to some technical departure restrictions from Europe. St. Maarten and Puerto Rico will also jointly seek a new potential service from North America, particularly the West Coast of the US and explore the possibility of attracting a new service on the SXM-SJU route. Another area where a new potential service could benefit both destinations is South America, specifically from Bogota, Colombia.

The two major tourism destinations agreed to work together in several other areas, for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is expected to be signed shortly.  This will cover in the short term, both islands pooling their resources together to intensify air access development from various markets. It will also lead to promoting dual destination packages, for which a pilot project will be established using one or two properties from both islands to spearhead the project.

According to Gonzalez-Lafuente, Puerto Rico is also interested in partnering with St. Maarten in other niche segments such as cruise and convention tourism. The Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company also added that another area of potential cooperation between the two islands would be technical support with transportation services or best practices, especially where it relates to policy.

“The talks were very comprehensive and fruitful,” Director of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau Regina LaBega remarked.

Also forming part of the St. Maarten delegation was Marla Chemont of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau.


Did you like this? Share it:
St. Maarten, Puerto Rico seek to intensify tourism ties by

Comments are closed.