“Tourists are searching in vain for authentic St. Maarten products”POSTED: 05/23/16 6:42 PM
The Hope-team on Front Street; from left: Jacinto Mock, Loekie Morales and Mercedes van der Waals-Wyatt. Photo contributed
St. Maarten News – “Tourists are searching in vain for authentic St. Maarten products.” That is in one center of Philipsburg.
Mercedes van der Waals-Wyatt, Loekie Morales and Jacinto Mock surveyed shopkeepers for a second time on Saturday. Dressed in party-tee shirts, the three made clear that the campaign for the September 26 elections has started early this year.
The aspiring politicians found, again, that cleanliness on the street and garbage collection top the list of concerns shopkeepers have. It beats safety and security that came in as a close second, Hope says in a press statement. The store owners feel that in-store surveillance cameras are useful, yet they would like to see more surveillance cameras and more police presence in the center.
The store owners expressed furthermore concerns about the shrinking high season, about the lack of marketing activities, political instability and private sector bankruptcies. The have also noted a shift in the type of tourists that visit the destination and “noticeable differences in their spending patterns.”
The store owners said that St. Maarten is more often than not the last stop in a cruise itinerary and that many cruise passengers have spent all their money on other islands. They urge the government to work towards a situation whereby the island becomes the first stop.
Store owners furthermore suggest that cruise passengers should be dropped in the center of Philipsburg after an island tour, to give them the opportunity to buy souvenirs.