St. Maarten to tourism trade fair in ColombiaPOSTED: 02/9/16 8:09 PM
Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Ingrid Arrindell. Photo Today / Milton Pieters
Minister calls on private sector to join in
St. Maarten News: Minister Ingrid Arrindell (Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication) has extended an invitation to the business community to be a part of the Sint Maarten delegation to the Colombian Association of Travel and Tourism’s (Anato) trade fair from February 24 to 26 in Bogota.
The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau will have a joint booth at the fair with the Anguilla Tourist Board.
The tourism trade fair is the third largest one in South America and will attract representatives from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America.
The three day event is expected to lead to approximately 30,000 business contacts, translating into an annual turnover of close to $150 billion, according to Anato.
More than 3.9 million Colombians traveled to a foreign destination on holiday in 2014 according to Anato-figures. This is an increase of 8.5 percent over 2013 when 3.6 million Colombians traveled abroad.
“The business community should not depend on government alone to promote the destination. Hotel properties, tour operators, transportation providers, all have a role to play, and it’s in their interests to help promote the destination which also promotes their own businesses and at the same time securing business opportunities with other providers,” Minister Arrindell said in a press statement.
“Colombian tourists do not need a visa to visit Sint Maarten. We need to capitalize on this market. The air access is already there with Copa Airlines out of Panama,” the minister stated. “This will allow us to explore business to business opportunities with key partners in the tourism industry that is essential for the sustainable tourism development of our own sector. We have to continue to reach out to other markets and Colombia is a growing travel market.”
Minister Arrindell said that St. Maarten will use the trade fair to foster relationships with partners in an effort to have the destination included in their product line. “It is also an opportunity to meet with the travel media to promote Sint Maarten. Our destination has much to offer, especially the island-hopping aspect when we look at our sister-island of Anguilla.”
The minister appealed to the business community to get on-board. “Let us jointly showcase what we have to offer. Tourism is all about working together to bring more visitors to Sint Maarten.”
Hotel properties, tour operators and other tourist-related service providers that are interested in being part of the trade show delegation should contact the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau for details.